Poem remembers IRA man’s victims

The unveiling at Stormont of an official Assembly portrait of the former deputy first minister, Martin McGuinness in the Great Hall, Parliament Buildings. The portrait was commissioned by the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission and was painted by Belfast artist Tony Bell
The unveiling at Stormont of an official Assembly portrait of the former deputy first minister, Martin McGuinness in the Great Hall, Parliament Buildings. The portrait was commissioned by the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission and was painted by Belfast artist Tony Bell

The attendance of senior members of the DUP at the unveiling of a portrait of Martin McGuinness, including the present and former leaders of the party, will not have gone unnoticed by those who suffered at the hands of his wicked IRA.

I was struck my the comments of Peter Robinson who said it was “entirely proper and fitting” that the painting should hang in Stormont.

Letters to Editor

Letters to Editor

The day after the unveiling I came across a poem which I believe is a more fitting tribute to McGuinness and his contribution to the lives of people in Northern Ireland. In some ways it could be regarded as an elegy to him as much as to the three others it mentions.

It is partly based on revelations about the murder contained in Liam Clarke’s biography of McGuinness entitled From Guns to Government:

A Simple Set of Car Keys

A simple set of car keys, ‘Nothing special’ I hear you say

There’s a story behind these keys I’ll share with you today.

They belong to Leslie Jarvis and his story is so sad

Another killed for “Mother Ireland” by people who are bad.

As Leslie left his studies, he got into his car

Not knowing that McGuinness was watching from afar.

These keys in the ignition, soon Leslie will be dead

His killers crept up silently and shot Leslie in the head.

Not happy with one killing, the Provos hatched a plan.

They’d boobytrap Leslie’s body and murder a policeman.

The RUC came rushing after the shots rang round the town.

The Provo Commander watched as the cordon was put down.

Two officers approached the car and opened Leslie’s door.

One reached for Leslie’s briefcase beside the body on the floor.

An explosion ripped the car apart, three men left mangled and dead.

The bloodlust of that Provo Commander well and truly fed.

A simple set of car keys, ‘Very special’ I hear you say.

They tell a story of three men who I honour in my own way.

In proud memory of:

Chief Instructor Leslie Jarvis Northern Ireland Prison Service

Detective Inspector Austin Wilson RUC GC

Sergeant John Bennison RUC GC

Murdered at Magee College, Londonderry 23rd March 1987.

Poem written by Mark Olphert, nephew of Chief Instructor Leslie Jarvis, and used with his permission.

Samuel Morrison, Dromore, Co Down