US sees through G8’s fake Fermanagh businesses

Bryan O'Brien, Irish Times
Bryan O'Brien, Irish Times
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When is a butcher’s shop not a butcher’s shop? When it’s a fake storefront created especially for the G8 summit in Fermanagh of course.

The American media are seeing through the facade being created in Enniskillen, where empty shops are being made to look as though they are thriving businesses.

Irish Times reporter Dan Keenan explained the situation to an American radio station, whose host said: “Dan, you and I are talking about these fake storefronts, other news outlets are talking about it. Presumably the leaders in their limos will know that that butcher shop they see on their drive to the resort is not real. Do you think that some Irish, some people in Enniskillen, are hoping that the leaders realize that it’s fake, and will understand just how bad things have gotten there?”

And another website, The Atlantic Cities, described the moves as: “Just pretending everything is fine? That’s basically what policymakers have been doing since 2010 anyway -- and it’s what the Northern Irish government decided to do too. It’s put up sham businesses across Fermanagh, because, hey, that worked for the Russians, right?”

The reaction on Twitter has been mixed.

Food Monthly tweeted: “‘Fake’ butcher’s window for G8. Less window dressing, more hasty covering of cracks with Blutack & poster”.

Alison Charlton: “Fermanagh is just like that scene in Blazing Saddles, where they build a fake town overnight to divert the baddies.”

Stephen Harris said: “Govt pays for fake shops to disguise run down Northern Ireland town that will host G8 summit. Back in the USSR?”

And Rodney Edwards of the Impartial Reporter said: “American media focusing a lot on ‘fake’ shop fronts. Fair? Or are we just doing what Fermanagh people do & making the best of a bad situation?”

What do you think? Is the makeover simply papering over the cracks or an attempt to leave the G8 leaders with the best possible impression?