Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Editor's Viewpoint: Let's celebrate G8 summit showcase

It is the job of journalists to look behind the headlines, to probe what has not been said as much as to report what has been.

That is part of the rigour that they bring to the task of exploring news stories. Yet, even with that proviso, it was disappointing to hear the normally excellent Seamus McKee on BBC Radio Ulster spend much of his interview with Enterprise Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster on the forthcoming G8 conference delving into negative-sounding minutiae.

By any standards the decision to hold the G8 conference in Fermanagh is a big, positive story. It will bring the most powerful political leaders in the world to Northern Ireland where they will discuss big ideas. It will be an opportunity like no other to showcase the province to the world. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of journalists will be here to cover the event and their reports will go global. Quite simply it does not get any bigger than this. We know that other countries, even those with highly developed economies like Japan, use events like this to sell themselves to the world. Next year it will be our chance to do likewise.

This newspaper has often been critical of the Westminster government, but on this occasion we are glad to praise Prime Minister David Cameron for choosing Northern Ireland. As chairman of the G8 next year the location was in his gift. We should not forget the efforts of former Secretary of State, Owen Paterson, in persuading Mr Cameron to pick Fermanagh. This is a ringing endorsement of Northern Ireland and now is not the time to be curmudgeonly, but rather to celebrate.

The irony of the site for the summit, the Lough Erne resort, being in administration will probably not be lost on the G8 leaders. It will be a potent symbol of the economic problems facing world leaders as they try to restore stability. But with the infrastructure improvements to the area which will precede the summit and the spending which will accompany it, the local economy should certainly receive a welcome boost next year.

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