Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Enniskillen well prepared for G8

Lough Erne Hotel resort in Co Fermanagh, venue for the G8 summit

Like a family home intensively prepared to go on the market, the town of Enniskillen has that fresh paint smell about it of late.

Scrubbed, sanded and smothered in a generous coating of gloss and matt, one tangible benefit of hosting a G8 summit is clear - it could have been gauged with a headcount off the brush wielding men in overalls roaming the streets in recent days hunting for spots they may have missed.

Global issues will be at the forefront of the minds of the G8 leaders - and the protesters set to gather in this rural corner of Northern Ireland to make their voices heard - but for many in this picturesque town the local impact is what occupies them most. "Enniskillen has had a lick of paint and it's done it the world of good," said Gordon McKenna, barman at the Blakes of the Hollow pub on the main street.

If punters buying a pint of the black stuff in Blakes need a reminder of what is happening out at the Lough Erne Golf Resort this week, the bar staff are helpfully inscribing the initials G8 into the creamy head of their drink.

"My hopes are that everything goes off smoothly and we get a good turn out of it," added Mr McKenna. "We already have had quite a few tourists in talking about it and everyone so far has been very excited for it and excited to see how it affects the town in the future."

At the other end of Enniskillen town centre, no more than a 300 metre walk away, a poster of Barack Obama drinking stout - taken during his visit to the Republic of Ireland in 2011 - is prominent in the window of the Bush Bar.

It hosted its own G8 "opening ceremony" on Saturday night - essentially a good excuse to have a party. Jackie Swift from the bar said she is confident the G8's arrival will be a positive for the town. "We hope it is going to have a really good impact on trade and good for the Enniskillen area itself," she said.

Meanwhile, a six-mile lake exclusion zone has been put in place around the summit venue. Police said restrictions on Lower Lough Erne have come into effect, stretching from north to south of the venue. A PSNI spokesman said: "During the closure, no form of boat or vessel movement will be permitted within the closure zone, but shoreline activity like land-based fishing will be permitted."

Police added: "Please be assured that every effort will be made to keep this closure as short as possible. It is currently planned to end on Tuesday night (June 18). This may be subject to change because of operational issues. Emergencies requiring the deployment of rescue vessels such as the RNLI will be facilitated."

Police will be patrolling both closure points and can advise water users.

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