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Gardai aid 'Fortress Fermanagh' security operation

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Gardai close off city streets to traffic

Gardai close off city streets to traffic

Gardai close off city streets to traffic

THE biggest security operation ever mounted in the border region was in full swing today as the G8 summit of world leaders got under way.

Garda and Defence Force chiefs are overseeing a ring of steel with the largest deployment of security personnel since the State visits of Britain's Queen Elizabeth and US President Barack Obama last year.

Full co-operation with the unprecedented show of force by British security forces and the PSNI on the northern side has all but guaranteed 'Fortress Fermanagh' remains impregnable.

Communication networks linking the Irish and British security operations are being used to ensure the summit of the most powerful politicians on the planet goes smoothly.

Thousands of police from the UK have been deployed for a massive clampdown throughout Northern Ireland.

In the Lough Erne region, hospitals, schools, transport services, airports and communities are coping with disruption to their routines to facilitate the 'Lockdown by the Lough.'

Gardai issued a statement advising people that security checks will be in place for road users in areas of south Donegal, Leitrim, Cavan and Monaghan.

 

FENCE

Motorists should "expect delays and to adjust their travel arrangements" on roads leading into the Lough Erne region.

Belfast was expected to experience traffic chaos today with the arrival of President Obama at Aldergrove Airport on Air Force One before travelling on to Lough Erne.

PSNI district commander Chief Superintendent Pauline Shields said the G8 security operation was "the biggest operation that the PSNI has had to deal with".

The luxurious hotel resort on the banks of Lough Erne was sealed off today. A four-mile long metal fence surrounds the complex and razor wire has been laid out in fields around it.

Security checkpoints – including patrols of armed Gurkhas – lined routes around the resort. Drivers permitted to pass through the towering metal fence were warned to abide by a 20mph speed limit, under the scrutiny of security staff positioned every few yards along local roads.

A 30-tonne water cannon has been stationed in the vicinity of the hotel. A seven-mile stretch of Lough Erne is off-limits to the public with boat patrols manned by police. Divers continue to sweep waters around the resort.

Also, 3,500 'mutual aid' officers from England, Scotland and Wales will be working under PSNI commanders.

The police operation faces a two-pronged threat from radical anti-capitalist protesters and the ongoing campaign by dissident republicans.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has sanctioned the placing of a number of District Justices on stand-by to sit in special courts if there are any significant public order problems on the south side of the border.

In the North, more than 250 additional holding cells have been set up in Omagh and Belfast.

aokeeffe@herald.ie


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