A LUXURY resort hotel in Northern Ireland is being seriously considered as a venue for next year's G8 summit.
The five-star Lough Erne complex in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, is believed to be one of several locations in the running to host the exclusive gathering of world leaders. No final decision has been taken, the British Government said.
The G8 brings together the heads of eight of the world's most powerful economies. Next year will be the 39th meeting in a series dating back to 1976.
A spokeswoman for Prime Minister David Cameron said: "We have been looking at a number of options around the whole of the UK.
"We have not made a decision. We will announce the venue in due course."
The high-powered summit was held in the UK in 2005, at Gleneagles in Scotland, but was overshadowed by coinciding London suicide attacks which targeted people using public transport.
The G8 comprises seven of the world's leading industrialised nations and Russia.
The leaders of these countries meet face-to-face at an annual summit that has become a focus of media attention and protest action.
The G8's roots lie in the oil crisis and global economic recession of the early 1970s. Leaders aim to boost co-operation over trade and finance and strengthen the global economy.
The eurozone's travails may still be high on the agenda next year.
The luxury Lough Erne resort, which opened in 2007, is located amid dramatic scenery on a 600-acre peninsula between Castle Hume Lough and Lower Lough Erne in the far west of Northern Ireland and features the first golf course designed by Nick Faldo in Ireland. Its touring professional was multi-championship winning Northern Ireland golfer Rory McIlroy.
The resort's Loughside Lodges cost from £100 per night. It offers 120 rooms and suites, two championship golf courses and a Thai spa. Six conference rooms enjoy views over Castle Hume Lough and the Faldo Championship Course.
Nearby attractions include Belleek Pottery, the Marble Arch Caves, Enniskillen Castle, National Trust properties Florence Court House and Castle Coole; Sheelin Irish Lace Museum or the beaches of Donegal and Sligo.
Enniskillen was the site of the IRA's 1987 Remembrance Day bombing which killed 12 people in total. Taoiseach Enda Kenny attended a Poppy Day ceremony there this month, the 25th year since the attack.
Mr Cameron visited Co Fermanagh last year to view local social enterprises which fit his Big Society vision.