A SINN FEIN councillor is continuing his quest to have a table specially commissioned by former Prime Minister David Cameron for the 2013 G8 Summit “repatriated” to Fermanagh.
Made from locally sourced elm to Mr Cameron’s specifications, the table cost £7,000 and was centre stage at the 39th G8 Summit, the first to be held in Northern Ireland.
Heads of state including Barack Obama, Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin were among those to join Mr Cameron around the unique table.
When the summit ended it was shipped to Downing Street and housed in Margaret Thatcher’s study, as Mr Cameron explained: “I thought it was a good idea to bring it back because it has lots of important memories and symbolism …It was definitely a talking point”.
Dubbed TableG8, the issue remains a talking point in Fermanagh, but for different reasons as some believe Mr Cameron was wrong to take it and want it returned.
Councillor Sheamus Greene told a previous council meeting the table is of significant historical, political and cultural relevance to Fermanagh.
He said: “Prime Minister Cameron came over and I remember sitting in the Townhall while members of the Foreign Office promised £650 million of benefit to the region. Not only did we not get a penny of what was promised but he nicked the table and the chairs. We have asked for it to be repatriated. I would love to see it back in Enniskillen.”
He suggested campaigning to “Repatriate or release the table” to where it belongs.
“If there was four or five good strong men or women, we could even repatriate it ourselves if we got in to look at it. I propose we write to Prime Minister Johnson pointing out, could he return the table his predecessor nicked.”
After the meeting BBC Local Democracy asked Downing Street why the table was taken and if this was the agreed position in advance and if consideration could be given to the council’s request to return it.
Downing Street confirmed the table remains in what was Margaret Thatcher’s study and hasn’t moved since it arrived adding: “This government has not received a request to move it and we have no plans to do so.”
Notably this didn’t address whether taking the table after the summit was agreed in advance.
With the G7/G8 currently under way, Councillor Greene has written to the Prime Minister referring to previous correspondence to predecessors.
His letter reads: “Leading up to the 2013 G8 summit your Foreign Office officials promised all sorts of advantages for our county. We were informed we could expect a £600 million boost to our economy as well as a new waterpark and a much-needed bypass for our county town. I was very skeptical of British Tory government promises at the time but unfortunately others fell for these fairy tales. As the present British Prime Minister, I ask you to fulfil the broken promises of your predecessors and fund the projects initially promised.”
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