It was unveiled in an e-mail from the Sinn Fein press office on Tuesday, which said that a body called ‘The Martin McGuinness Peace Foundation’ will host it “in his memory”.
Entrants are asked to pen poetry “that reflects Martin’s legacy or his vision for a New Ireland”. A prize of £1,000 is available to the winner.
It adds: “Martin’s love of poetry was well-known, whether it was enjoying the work of others, or writing his own on the rare occasions that his hectic schedule allowed.”
The foundation – a private limited company based in Londonderry – was set up in 2019, and Sinn Fein says its objectives include “to promote Martin’s legacy through education, art and culture”.
Dermot Nesbitt, an ex-UUP MLA, had been standing talking to legal academic Edgar Graham when an IRA gunman shot him in the head at Queen’s University Belfast in the run-up to Christmas of 1983 (virtually opposite offices of the English and Arts faculty, and a mere stone’s throw from what is now the Seamus Heaney Centre).
Last night he told the News Letter he can “still hear his last words… and then BANG – he was gone”.
The 73-year-old went on to add: “In the dealings I had with him [McGuinness], he presented a positive image.
“He came across as a very personable person; that’d be the attribute of someone who’d be a good politician.”
Whilst acknowledging this, Mr Nesbitt also said “there are people who are still ‘disappeared’, and to those people that must be very distressing to hear they’re going to idolise him as a poet”.
He believes attempts are being made to “sanitise” the IRA, but people must remember “absolutely nothing” justified the bloodshed.
He said of Mr McGuinness: “He was out killing people most of the time – he should be remembered as what he was: a terrorist.”
No poetry competition is going to “bring back Clive” he added, dubbing the whole enterprise “a load of rubbish”.
Poems should be submitted by noon on Friday, March 5, to the following address:
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers — and consequently the revenue we receive — we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.
Subscribe to newsletter.co.uk and enjoy unlimited access to the best Northern Ireland and UK news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.
Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.
— to www.newsletter.co.uk