Hidden costs of the Fermanagh G8 run beyond millions spent policing protest


The Security budget for the Fermanagh G8 operation, to encompass cities in Northern Ireland, including buildings, phone lines and whatever else may be deemed a ‘Security risk’, will add many millions to the already astronomical security budget .  There is £3.8 million for drones and £1.3 million for pop up hotels for the 2,500 extra Officers already drafted in.  The additional cost of subsistence and logistics involved in PSNI guarding 208 empty buildings in Belfast from a mythical anarchist plan to occupy them is no more than a ridiculous attempt to scare anyone who is against the G8 Summit. These sort of stories in the media are intended to thwart any attempts to allow for freedom protest.   The supposed economic gains of pantomime are alleged longer term investment that will be brought to the province in the way of business for some hotels! But the less visible costs include the cost of the loss of earnings for local residents for the three days of the summit, the road closures and disruption to people’s lives and privacy.

The so called strategy for longer term investment in to the province is a joke for local businesses many of which have closed down in Eniskillen and neighbouring towns due to lack of investment.  We are told roads will be resurfaced but the only road being resurfaced is for the purpose of transporting the G8 leaders to and from the Summit Venue. The theatrical natuire of this investement is revealed by derelict buildings in Eniskillen which have had shop fronts painted on them. So that as the G8 leaders are passing through there will be brighter appearance than the grim reality of the derelict buildings and shut down shops.

In this time of austerity measures being imposed on the public we are all being expected as citizens to bear the brunt of this cost – financially, and also the invasion of privacy for anyone (who is and isn’t) involved in any type of anti –G8 protest or movement. While having to endure the G8 leaders coming over to divvy up what’s left of the NI land and economy we also face the proposed measures to introduce the Bedroom tax.  Like the household and water charges in the south, all are intended to ensure people on lower incomes have to pay out more amidst massive redundancies meaning real wage cuts.

Tourists and international visitors will be subjected to car searches, bag searches, questioning - is this promoting NI as a ‘tourism and investment’ hotspot? The investment in agricultural exploitation via fracking,  local politicians are keen to claw more money into the hands of a select few to ensure profits for those  who are landowners and involved directly with Corporations and Industry. This multi million pound G8 spend comes with no guarantee to bring in longer term investment or jobs for people who live here.

The increasing propaganda via the mainstream media and inflammatory paranoia being peddledin the build up to the G8 Summit does not lend to the ‘idea’ that the mainstream media show an unbiased approach to reporting. In fact, in this case the Irish News has taken instead the  Police line and used the Occupy movement in Belfast to scaremonger the public into assuming that the Security Forces are reacting. At no point has any political organisations, Trade Union delegates, representative from the NUJ  or members of the general public been asked for what may be a differing opinion or to give a balanced appearance to the articles we have seen so far in the mainstream media. 

These scare tactics, in articles such as the Irish News front page 'Police to Occupy hundreds of vacant premises in Belfast during G8'  highlight the intended persecution of people who are increasingly becoming disenfranchised with the promise of work, jobs, and housing. The G8 Summit coverage is a testament to the fact that while promoting investment for a select few there is a continuation government policy to put the squeeze on those with lower incomes.  They will spare no expense for these G8 leaders running up millions of pounds of debt to the public purse. 

This letter was response to articles discussing the plans for security lockdown in the lead up to the G8 Summit -most recently the one that made the front page of the Irish News (‘Policy to Occupy hundreds of vacant premises in Belfast during G8’  -