Lough closure for G8 summit planned
Published 25/04/2013 | 13:46
A seven-mile stretch of one of Northern Ireland's most famous waterways will be locked down for the duration of the G8 summit this summer.
The section of Lower Lough Erne in Co Fermanagh will be off limits to any boat or vessel for three days in June as the meeting takes place at the Lough Erne Resort.
The five-star hotel complex sits on the lakeside and the Police Service of Northern Ireland's marine plan is part of a massive security operation aimed at keeping the venue safe when the world's most powerful political figures convene for the meeting in mid-June.
Around 8,000 police officers will be deployed to provide G8 security across Northern Ireland.
While planning for such high-profile political events in any host country has to factor in the potential challenges posed by radical anti-capitalist protest groups, in Northern Ireland security chiefs also have to deal with the ongoing threat from dissident republicans opposed to the peace process.
Fermanagh is a county popular with tourists and is famed for its scenic lakelands. The part of Lower Lough Erne that will be closed down stretches from the lough gates at the historic Portora Royal School on the outskirts of Enniskillen northwards to Ross Point near Blaney. The Lough Erne Resort is situated in the middle of this section of the lough.
A PSNI spokeswoman said: "As part of our role in preparing to deliver a safe G8 event for everyone, planning has been taking place to police Lough Erne. This will involve implementing a marine plan, the aim of which is to deliver a safe and secure G8 while minimising disruption to users of the lough.
"A significant police operation will be in place in the lead up to and during the G8 Summit on June 17 and 18. Meeting the ongoing needs of our community has been a key consideration and we have been working to reduce any potential inconvenience caused to users of Lough Erne."
She added: "There will be stand-off markers in place in advance of each closure. These are to help safeguard lough users and to protect them from damage or injury. It is important that everyone using the lough heeds these safety markers. Please be assured that every effort will be made to keep this closure as short as possible."
Anyone breaching the restrictions will be liable for prosecution.