Northern Ireland

G8 summit: Bringing down the fences and returning to normality

fences removed
Image caption It could take up to a week to dismantle the fences surrounding the resort

In County Fermanagh work has begun to dismantle the huge security fence around the Lough Erne Resort. And for those who have been living in its shadow, life is returning to normal.

The razor wire line of defence for the world's most powerful leaders is expected to take over a week to dismantle and then it will be sent back to Britain.

Packed off, just like the extra 3,600 police officers that were flown in to help with the summit.

For residents in the usually much quieter locale already a few things have changed. They no longer need a pass to return home with their shopping.

James Wilson said despite the inconvenience it had been an interesting time for the area.

Image caption James Wilson said it had been a strange but exciting time

"I suppose it's history in the making - I have a granddaughter that lives in Australia - and the phone calls have been coming thick and fast.

"Not just from there but everyone wants to try and find out what's been happening," he said.


"I think we'll be keeping our passes as a souvenir - you never know they may be coming back again in a few years' time, so might get to use them again if I'm still alive."

It's widely accepted that the Lough Erne summit will be remembered as one of the most relaxed policing operations in G8 history.

Over the weekend and the two days of the gathering there were only two G8 related arrests.

Around the hotel security is still in place, but this additional measure will be gone as soon as the fence is down.

Lough Erne hotel is still in lockdown as they undertake the physical removal of the security apparatus.

There are still government officials staying there but the hotel is already preparing to reopen for their next event, a corporate golf tournament.

In the build-up and duration of the summit there has been a recurring theme of dismantling of walls.

Image caption President Barack Obama delivers a speech at the Belfast Waterfront Hall

On Monday, President Barack Obama spoke to a group of mainly young people about the importance of them continuing the work that has already been done 15 years on from the Good Friday Agreement.

He urged the audience, made up of teenagers from across the community, to "break down the barriers that still divide Catholics and Protestants".

President Obama specifically focused on Alexandra Park in north Belfast.

It's thought to be the only park in western Europe with a three-metre high fence running through the middle.

In doing so the American president echoed the sentiments of a shared future discussed so extensively by the Prime Minister David Cameron, Northern Ireland's First and Deputy First Ministers, Peter Robinson and Martin McGuiness last week.

In London, the trio unveiled an economic package for Northern Ireland based on plans for a shared future to bring about a more united society.

It is the showcasing of a new safe, welcoming and united Northern Ireland that it is hoped will be the lasting legacy of this summit long after the security fences are removed.

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