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Work under way on G8 security fence


The Lough Erne Resort

The Lough Erne Resort

The Lough Erne Resort

Work to erect a massive security fence to protect eight of the world's most powerful leaders during the G8 summit in Fermanagh was started today.

The metal barrier which stretches for miles around the luxury Lough Erne golf resort is designed to block off the surrounding area and prevent thousands of anti-capitalist protesters from gaining access to the isolated hotel.

Details about the height, width and scale of the fence are not being disclosed by the PSNI who say it will be taken down shortly after the global conference.

"As part of our role in preparing to deliver a safe and secure G8 event for everyone, a security fence is to be constructed at the Lough Erne Golf Resort in Co. Fermanagh," a PSNI spokeswoman said.

A number of roads will be closed to facilitate construction work from June 1.

The fence is among a number of measures being put in place to deter would-be trouble makers when the leaders of the world's eight wealthiest countries jet into Northern Ireland on June 17 and 18.

Assistant Chief Constable Alistair Finlay, who is heading up the PSNI's G8 security operation, had raised concerns that anti capitalist militants could team up with dissident republican terror groups to create mayhem during the two-day event.

An additional 3,600 police officers will be drafted in from forces across the UK to help the 7,000 members of the PSNI.

Two unmanned drones are also being deployed to relay live pictures to police at the PSNI headquarters in Belfast.

The military will support the police by providing air protection for VIPs and their entourages as they are flown to and from the event outside Enniskillen.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has hired two private security firms including G4S which failed to deliver enough security guards during last year's London Olympics for stewarding, monitoring of site perimeters and securing access to venues.

This week the Republic's Defence Minister Alan Shatter also revealed that mobile phone providers may be asked to cut off signals amid fears that terrorists could use them to detonate bombs.

Checkpoints where vehicles may be scanned could be set up across Co Fermanagh although the PSNI said there were no plans for permanent checkpoints at this stage.

It is believed the G8 meeting will generate up to £40 million for the local Northern Ireland economy.

However, there will be significant disruption to people living in the locality with schools and hospitals affected.

Students sitting GCSE and A-level exams may have to battle traffic delays and some schools are opening early, providing breakfast as a contingency plan.

The Western Health Trust said all emergency and essential services would be maintained with extra ambulances available but, a number of non-urgent operations are being deferred.

The Department of Regional Development is to halt road works all over Northern Ireland for the duration of the summit.

PA Media