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Businesses still counting the cost of G8 ‘disaster’

G8 Protest in Enniskillen - Local businesses are still counting the cost

G8 Protest in Enniskillen – Local businesses are still counting the cost

IT WAS to be the biggest thing to happen to Fermanagh in a generation, bringing thousands of visitors, and £7 million to the county, and the local economy, which relies so heavily on tourism.

But now that the G8 has come and gone some of those who rely on visitors to the county feel let down by the promises of what the G8 would bring.

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“It (G8) was absolutely devastating to tourism in the area,” claimed Donal Martin from the Custom House pub restaurant in Belcoo.

“June is usually fabulous for us – our third best month of the year after July and August.

“But the G8 decimated that, and our trade isn’t back yet to where we would hope it to be at this time of the summer” continued Mr Martin.

The Belcoo businessman said they were finding business building up a bit but that it was still very slow.

Mr Martin said he has no doubt the G8 affected people’s travel plans, and that visitors, who would traditionally have come to the area during June stayed away.

Across the county, near Castle Archdale, Kelly Maguire of Cedar’s Guesthouse and Rectory Bistro said her experience of the G8 in Fermanagh was also ‘very negative’.

“It was built up to be something it wasn’t” said Ms Maguire.

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“At all the meetings we were told the only road closure would be the Shore Road.

“But during the summit there were road closed signs in Kesh for the B82 – the road that runs past Cedars – and traffic was diverted through Irvinestown to Enniskillen.

“The Thursday night before the summit we had three people in here – we’d get more on a winter’s evening.

Ms Maguire said the Sunday before G8, Father’s Day, was also a disaster as a few tables cancelled believing there would be disruption.

“And we had other bookings cancelled the weekend before as the people thought they wouldn’t be able to get around the county.”

During the summit the Cedars had Canadian police staying with them, but Ms Maguire said apart from that the whole thing would have been a disaster for them.

“We stocked up – and even trained the staff up on guiding people around the area, and the history of the house.

Another member of the local hospitality industry, who didn’t wish to be named, said while the year had been quiet she didn’t believe the G8 as to blame.

The B&B owner, who runs her business just outside Enniskillen said the season has been quiet.

“I don’t think tourists are staying away because of the G8, they are probably changing their routes. It is only a few days and all is over, so I should not think that would affect ones touring around.

“With the cost of food and electric and oil going up and every one is looking for a bargain, a lot of the offers are in hotels in the south of Ireland.

“It’s not easy to keep up standards and quality of products and do a really good job and cut prices.

“We will just have to weather the storm and be as thrifty as we can with pennies,” she added.

“We will have got Enniskillen and Fermanagh out into the wide world so we will benefit in the future, maybe not this year but next and there after.”

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 28 Belmore Street, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, BT74 6AA