Northern Ireland

Teresa Villiers rejects judge's G8 'farrago' comments

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Teresa Villiers has dismissed a Londonderry judge's criticism of next week's G8 summit in County Fermanagh.

District judge Barney McElholm said the summit should be held in the middle of the desert.

He made his comments on Thursday when told the investigating officer for a case being heard would be on G8 duty next week.

Ms Villiers said she did not share Judge McElhom's view.

The G8 summit will take place at the Lough Erne golf resort in County Fermanagh on 17 and 18 June.

On being told the police officer could not attend court due to the summit Judge McElholm said that he would not be able to hear the case on Monday himself as he was also going to be on standby in Fermanagh.

"I am involved in that other farrago, that travelling Eurovision song contest which has completely disrupted the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland," Mr McElholm said.

"It would be better being held in the middle of the desert for all the good it has been for anybody."

The case was adjourned until next week.

Speaking to BBC Radio Foyle Ms Villiers said she thought the conference would be "a great occasion".

"G8s inevitably come with public order issues, that's one of the reasons the security effort has to be all-embracing, but I believe it's a chance to remind the world that Northern Ireland has made huge progress over the last few years," she said.

"I think this event will provide a phenomenal opportunity to project Northern Ireland on the world stage," she said.

"People will be able to see what a beautiful place it is. How friendly the people are and that is going to be great for attracting visitors and tourists and investors."

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