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Fenced in: life on farms locked inside exclusion zone

By Adrian Rutherford

Ryan Johnston normally enjoys an armchair view of golfers honing their skills on one of Lough Erne Resort’s picturesque putting greens.


Behind the iron curtain: Fermanagh resident Ryan Johnston

by adrian rutherford


For the last fortnight, however, he has been confronted with a huge metal fence every time he’s glanced out of his front window.

This is the reality of life inside the iron curtain for the 20-odd families whose homes surround the ring of steel guarding the venue for the G8 Summit.

According to residents, security was increased within days of David Cameron confirming that Enniskillen would host the summit late last year.

“Police have been on this road since December,” explains Ryan. “I’ve been stopped many a time coming home during the last six months.”

Two weeks ago the Shore Road which runs past the Lough Erne Resort was shut off to general traffic, and from yesterday only a handful of special pass holders can access it.

Anyone with a pass must still undergo thorough vehicle searches every time they enter and leave the secured zone.

“I’ve got my supplies in now for next week because the road is closed from Thursday until next Wednesday,” added Ryan.

“We’ve lost the view, even getting into our yard is difficult, but there is nothing we can do about it. They have just come and taken over.”

A few hundred yards down the road is Charlie and Linda Moore’s farm, which overlooks the Lough Erne Resort.

They have had a huge telephone mast placed on their land, a new road has been created — plus armed guards are stationed outside their fields around the clock.

“A group of security men arrived in February and told us that because we were the neighbouring farm, we would be inside a big fence,” explained Linda.

“It isn’t just the big fence that they’ve built. There is a new telephone mast to improve the mobile signal. Then there is the new road — they’ve built this road right through our land.

“Every gate into our farm now has a security man posted on it,” added Linda.

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