One of David Cameron’s main reasons for choosing Lough Erne as the G8 summit location was that its remoteness was likely to reduce the number of protestors, a cabinet minister has said.
Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers said that she could not have imagined the summit passing off so smoothly. She said: “I certainly hoped that it would go as smoothly as it has but I didn’t want to expect that.”
When asked if the remote location was partly to discourage the arrival of outside protestors, Ms Villiers told the News Letter: “That was one of the reasons why David Cameron chose it.
“If you remember, he was keen to see Lough Erne itself before making a final decision on this – he made a quick visit to it when he was here back in the autumn to make an announcement about the G8.
“Overall, he wanted to bring the G8 to Northern Ireland because he thought it would be a great opportunity to show the world what has been achieved and what a great place Northern Ireland is.
“One of the reasons he chose Lough Erne was for its scenic beauty but also, as you say, its fairly remote location was always going to mean that it was less likely to attract vast numbers than if we’d held this conference in Manchester, Birmingham or London.”
Ms Villiers said that she had brief meetings with the G8 leaders but said they were all “complementary of the stunning setting”.
And she said that the vast media contingent at the Killyhevlin media centre had told her “we should bring every G8 to Northern Ireland because the food was so good and I heard that the mutual aid police officers (from Great Britain) were pretty impressed as well”.