Northern Ireland locked down for G8 summit
An immense security operation around thevisit by the G8 group of world leaders will place much of Ireland, north and south, under police lockdown.
Although the operation is centred on the isolated Lough Erne golfing resort, in Fermanagh, near Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, its impact is being felt across the entire island. The British, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland governments all aim to prove that Northern Ireland is open for investment and that they can organise the police and military resources to deal with large-scale protests from the working population. The summit, announced by Prime Minister David Cameron last November as part of the current British presidency of the G8, is also being used to trial police state measures.
Around 8,000 police from Northern Ireland, along with 3,600 drafted in from Britain will be available to protect the Lough Erne resort from protestors. British police have been undergoing water cannon and riot training to bring their skills into line with those of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).
Northern Ireland secretary of state Theresa Villiers announced that in addition to British Army helicopters being used to ferry the visiting dignitaries from Belfast International Airport to the resort, “standard military aid to civil authorities” would be provided to the PSNI. Villiers also approved the use of private security operator G4S to provide an additional 450 security staff. The Irish government has assigned more than 900 police to the border region for the duration of the summit.
The Lough Erne resort is being surrounded by 8 kilometres of steel fencing, while many of the surrounding roads are subject to diversions, delays and numerous police checkpoints. New closed-circuit TV towers have sprung up everywhere around the venue. Much of the lough itself is being closed to water-based traffic. The PSNI has imported speed boats used to police the Thames for the London 2012 Olympics to patrol waters usually frequented only by anglers. Villiers has authorised the Northern Ireland Department of Justice to seize land near Enniskillen untilfor the “preservation of the peace of the maintenance of order”.