Belfast Telegraph

Ex-RUC officer tells of bond with Martin McGuinness, the man who tried to have him killed

By Staff Reporter

The head of Co-Operation Ireland has revealed he had a "real bond" with former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness - despite believing the ex-IRA leader tried on numerous occasions to have him killed.

Peter Sheridan served with the RUC before moving into peace-building and was a chief superintendent in Londonderry where McGuinness was active.

He believes the first time McGuinness tried to have him killed was in March 1987. This was at the scene where the IRA killed Prison Service lecturer Leslie Jarvis (61) close to Magee College as he sat in his car.

Sheridan was a uniform sergeant at the time and was called to the scene.

He avoided being killed when the booby-trapped car exploded, but two detectives died instantly. Speaking to the Irish Times Mr Sheridan said he felt lucky to have survived.

Two other attempts were in the 1990s. The Garda discovered evidence about a plan to put a bomb under Mr Sheridan's car while he was at Mass after questioning a man in Donegal.

The plan included details about his wife, children and where he attended Mass.

Also, during the mid-1990s, he was warned that the IRA planned an attack at his house.

Mr Sheridan later faced Mr McGuinness over the negotiating table at Downing Street.

He was accompanied by then- PSNI Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde for a meeting with Gerry Adams, Gerry Kelly and Tony Blair, who was Prime Minister, and attempted to persuade Sinn Fein to support the police force.

He said the RUC was never able to get McGuinness on a serious "beyond probability" charge despite investigations, adding: "We did not convict Martin McGuinness in this life. It is unfair therefore morally and ethically to convict him in the next life. That is somebody else's job."

Mr Sheridan said he got to know Mr McGuinness in the last 20 years of his life. He said he believed the Sinn Fein man "grew to understand that he was more successful in the last 20 years of his life than in the previous 20 years", adding: "I often wonder if he had to do it all again what he would say to himself."

He said that in recent years there had been a real bond between the pair.

"I think we miss his skills, his ability with people, his ability to get on with people and his ability to stretch people far enough that we made progress each time," he said.

"People have asked me did I like Martin. I think people who met him found it hard not to like him," he said.

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