G8 to meet at Co Fermanagh resort
An administration-hit luxury hotel in Northern Ireland's lakelands has signed the booking of a lifetime after David Cameron confirmed it as the venue for next year's G8 summit.
The five star Lough Erne golf resort in Co Fermanagh will host US President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other world leaders at the two-day meeting next June.
It will be the first time the annual summit has been held in the UK since Gleneagles in Scotland in 2005 - the last occasion the British Government chaired the G8.
The summit will undoubtedly be the most high-profile event ever staged in Northern Ireland.
The annual meeting of the leaders of the world's eight richest nations is invariably the focus of demonstrations and protests. With the persistent threat of dissident republican violence in Northern Ireland to factor in as well, police are set to mount an unprecedented security operation around the resort, which lies five miles outside the town of Enniskillen.
The announcement came just days after Enniskillen commemorated the 25th anniversary of the last occasion it hit the global headlines - during the Troubles when an IRA bomb killed 11 people attending a Remembrance Day service.
Mr Cameron made the announcement after paying a secret visit to the loughside hotel. "I want the world to see just what a fantastic place Northern Ireland is," he said.
The Prime Minister said he wanted the G8 to focus on three main themes: the fight against protectionism in global trade; action against tax avoidance; and promoting greater transparency and openness in governments and businesses around the world.
The booking will deliver a much-needed shot in the arm to the troubled resort, which is on the market for £10 million, and the wider economy in Fermanagh.
Foreign Secretary William Hague announced that he will host a summit of G8 foreign ministers in London on April 10-11 next year, ahead of the Lough Erne leaders' summit on June 17-18. Mr Hague said he expects "a particular focus on the prevention of conflict" at the London summit.