Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Groups 'may unite to disrupt G8'

The Lough Erne Resort outside Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, will be the venue for next June's G8 summit

Anti-capitalist militants could align themselves with dissident republicans to disrupt this summer's G8 conference, a top police officer has warned.

Assistant Chief Constable Alistair Finlay insisted the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) is prepared for any upsurge in terrorist activity when the leaders of the world's eight richest countries meet in Co Fermanagh in June.

"We are aware of a range of groups who either jointly or individually might want to come together to cause some disruption," he said.

The senior officer declined to be drawn on whether he believed dissidents, who have murdered two soldiers, two police officers and a prison guard, would seize the opportunity for a major publicity coup. However, he added: "Dissident republican activity is sadly an ongoing feature of Northern Ireland."

World leaders including US president Barack Obama, German chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian premier Vladimir Putin are expected to attend the event at the luxury Lough Erne Golf Resort in June.

A massive security operation will be mounted and thousands of police officers from UK forces will be drafted in to help bolster PSNI numbers. They will help provide security and safety at a range of key venues and will be able to exercise the same powers of arrest, stop and search.

The Army will be on standby but there are no plans to bring soldiers on to the streets to deal with protesters.

"We have no plans to utilise the Army in that way. We would get additional mutual aid from GB," said Mr Finlay.

Help will also be provided by An Garda Siochana south of the Irish border.

Meanwhile, the PSNI is to spend millions of pounds on a new helicopter and is expected to brief the Policing Board about the possibility of purchasing two drones ahead of the G8. The remotely operated aircraft would be used to relay live pictures from high-quality cameras.

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