G4S to provide G8 summit support
G4S, the firm behind the Olympic security fiasco, is to provide support at the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland this summer.
The firm, which suffered a multimillion pound loss and damage to its reputation after failing to provide all of its contracted guards to the Olympics last year, will supply 450 employees to the event at Lough Erne golf resort in June.
The announcement came as Northern Ireland secretary Theresa Villiers revealed additional military personnel and thousands of police officers from across Britain will be drafted in to help the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland).
Commenting on G4S's contract win, Ms Villiers said lessons had been learned and claimed that the UK Foreign Office was confident the firm could deliver. "The G8 is considerably less than the numbers that were required for the mammoth operation at the Olympics," she added.
Ms Villiers declined to divulge how many extra troops would be deployed to Co Fermanagh for the two-day summit next month but said military assistance would be used to back up the police.
"At the request of the PSNI and in line with standard military aid to civil authority, yes the military will be providing assistance to the PSNI as is normal with events of this scale," said Ms Villiers.
Army helicopters will be used to fly world leaders and their entourages to and from the event outside Enniskillen. However, the Secretary of State refused to be drawn on further details of the Army's role.
The leaders of the world's eight wealthiest countries are expected in Fermanagh on June 17 and 18.
Meanwhile, PSNI chief constable Matt Baggott said he expected thousands of protesters to descend on Northern Ireland during the G8 Summit. "We are expecting demonstrations in Belfast and we are expecting some in Enniskillen as well. I would anticipate thousands. There are many routes into Northern Ireland," he said.
G4S said its staff will provide stewarding, monitoring of site perimeters and securing access to venues. The company has previously provided support to a number of international summits on behalf of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, including the 2005 G8 Summit in Gleneagles and the G20 Summit in London.