August 2018

Stone art

Michael Stone art exhibition organizers regret injuries caused by hosting event

The organizers of the Michael Stone art exhibition say they regret the harm done to the family of the late Dermot Hackett by organizing the event for the loyalist killer.

The exhibit took place inside the East Belfast Reach UK community project, which was set up by former members of the paramilitary group Red Hand Commando.

The group says it supports initiatives from all sections of the community and has been asked to consider hosting a free week-long exhibition of artwork from the Stone’s Milestones collection.

Robin Stewart of Project Reach was pictured standing next to Stone at the show’s launch last month. He said the organization had offered space to host the 25 works of art and a free opening night in mid-July.

“The nature of the request was to exhibit some of Michael’s works and at the same time to publicize the Prison Arts Foundation,” he said.

“We discussed the possibility of this exhibition being controversial, but Michael wanted it to be a low-key event.”

Mr Stewart added: “We regret the hurt and pain caused. Michael also recognizes the hurt his past actions have caused and he understands how this can impact the families of the victims.

“He is an artist who is in prison but will soon be released. All prisoners, whether trade unionists or nationalists, have limited options on how they are going to reintegrate into society and art is preparing Michael for this. He shows the other prisoners that there is hope for them when they are released and rehabilitated so that they do not reoffend. “

Since news of Stone’s art exhibit came to light, Mr Stewart said there has been renewed interest in the exhibit.

“We sold a number of paintings at the launch and today received more emails from people locally and across the UK looking to come and view the works with an interest in buying. Some of them they can be people genuinely interested in art or because of who the artist is. “

Stone (second from left) at the opening of his exhibition as he left Maghaberry prison at night

Stone leading his attack on Milltown Cemetery in March 1988

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Stone art

Grand Secretary of the Order of Orange, Mervyn Gibson, defends his participation in Michael Stone’s artistic event

THE Grand Secretary of the Order of Orange defended the decision to attend an art exhibition in Belfast opened by convicted killer Michael Stone.

Mervyn Gibson was among the public figures pictured at the event last month.

Stone, who was convicted of killing six people during the unrest, opened the exhibit – which included a number of his paintings – on a temporary unattended exit from Maghaberry Prison.

‘Milestones 2018’, exhibiting works by ‘East Belfast artists Michael and Karan Stone’, opened on July 9 at the Reach Project on Newtownards Road.

Other attendees included former DUP assembly member Sammy Douglas and DUP adviser George Dorrian.

Mr. Gibson said he went there as “a local minister and also a community activist involved in peacebuilding for many years.”

Cartoon by Ian Knox from August 10, 2018

He told BBC Radio Ulster’s Talkback show that he supported the Order of Orange’s decision not to meet Sinn Féin and that there was “no inconsistency for me, as individual, to go to such an exhibition “.

“Over the years, I have met many senior Sinn Féin officials who were terrorists, and I do so in the interest of progress and peace building.”

The DUP also declared that “Councilor Dorrian, like all representatives of the DUP, condemns all acts of terrorism, including the evil acts committed by Michael Stone”.

Roddy Hackett, whose 37-year-old brother Dermot was murdered by Stone in Co Tyrone in 1987, said his family should have been told he was on bail.

Stone was held back by security personnel in a botched attack on the Parliament Buildings in 2006. Photo by Mal McCann

“I would hate to think that part of my immediate family walked up the street in Belfast and saw him walking towards them,” he said.

“I think it would be a terrible shock to them, especially to Dermot’s family.

“It’s just that they let us know.”

Bread server Dermot Hackett was found dead in his van between Drumquin and Omagh in 1987

The prison administration said victims must register with a special program before receiving information about a prisoner’s release date or any period of temporary release.

In 1988, Stone made headlines around the world when he murdered mourners Thomas McErlean, John Murray and Kevin Brady in a gun and grenade attack at the Republican funeral in the Milltown cemetery.

The murders came after the murders of Mr Hackett in 1987, Kevin McPolin in Lisburn in 1985 and milkman Patrick Brady in south Belfast in 1984.

He was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the six murders and released on license under the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, but was returned to prison after a botched attack on the Parliament Buildings in 2006.

Armed with explosives and other weapons, he attempted to get inside and kill Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams.

In 2013, it was decided that at least 30 years should be served for the Milltown murders.

Money raised from last month’s show was to be donated to Muscular Dystrophy UK.

However, the charity said yesterday that it would not accept the donation because it “was not aware that Mr Stone had exhibited works at the Milestones exhibition.”

Jim Wilson, president of the Reach Project, said Stone “had a past, now he hopes for a different future.”

“I think it was (David) Trimble who said, if you have a past, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a future. If this man is entering a new phase of his life, he should be. authorized to do so. “

He added: “I understand the pain and the pain that Michael may have imposed on other families, but it has also happened on our end.”

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Stone art

Charity refuses money raised at Michael Stone art exhibition

A charity has refused money raised at an art show for loyalist killer Michael Stone.

tone, on his release from prison, attended an art exhibition in east Belfast last month that featured his own work and that of his wife Karen whom he married in prison two years ago .

The exhibition features more than 20 paintings primarily focused on Loyalist themes. The Milestones exhibit was organized as part of the East Belfast Reach UK Community Project, which was set up by former members of the paramilitary group Red Hand Commando.

Organizers said 33% of proceeds raised from the event would go to the Muscular Dystrophy UK charity, with the remainder going to Stone and his family.

However, when the charity learned how the money was raised, it decided to refuse the funds.

In a statement, a spokesperson said: “We were not aware that Mr Stone had exhibited any work at the Milestones exhibition. We understand the sensitivities in Northern Ireland about an exhibition including his paintings.

“After careful consideration, we will decline the money raised at the event.”

Former UDA man Michael Stone rose to prominence for his bloody pistol and bomb attack on Milltown Cemetery in March 1988, when he attacked the funerals of three IRA members , firing and throwing grenades into the crowd.

Three people died in the attack, with Stone admitting to three more murders after being arrested.

He was released in 2000 under the Good Friday Agreement, but was jailed again in 2006 after attempting to kill Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness in Stormont, and is currently serving the remainder of the minimum jail sentence of 20 years that was inflicted on him in 1988.

As his release date approaches, he’s eligible for a 24-hour unsupervised daytime outing every four weeks in advance.

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