POLICE in Fermanagh have said the disruption being caused by security operations ahead of the G8 summit is necessary and that it will not affect community policing.
The police were commenting after a Sinn Fein councillor criticised the PSNI over the “excessive level of activity” in the Derrygonnelly area during preparations to host the world leaders.
With both the US and Russian presidents among the world leaders due at the Lough Erne golf resort in June, the scale of the security operation will be unprecedented in Northern Ireland’s history.
News that the G8 was coming to the Province has been widely welcomed but local Sinn Fein councillor Barry Doherty has said residents are annoyed at the extra police patrols.
The Erne West councillor said his party had requested a meeting with the PSNI and added: “These excessive activities are being done under the guise of security in advance of the G8 summit but, as we all know, it is not due to take place for another four months.
“A significant amount of money is being spent on this policing operation, with no indication yet whether the British Government will cover this extra cost.”
A spokesman for the PSNI said they would be happy to meet a Sinn Fein delegation.
“Police in Fermanagh are putting in place plans to ensure that the G8 event is as safe and secure as possible.
“These plans may result in some disruption to the local community. However, police will seek to manage this as carefully as possible.
“Police will continue to meet with members of the community and other interested parties in the coming months in relation to G8 planning,” he said.
The spokesman added: “Careful consideration will be given to the implications that an operation of this scale might have on day-to-day local policing and our priority will be to ensure that community policing throughout our district is not affected.”
Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Tom Elliott described the G8 as a “massive event for Northern Ireland let alone county Fermanagh”.
He said: “You will not host an event like that without a level of security and they [the PSNI] must be allowed to get on and do their job, so I don’t see what the big issue is.”