Let’s praise David Cameron for creating a brilliant showcase

First of all there was the simple pleasure at Lough Erne looking wonderful, an English friend saying  “didn’t Enniskillen look beautiful” and even the rain staying off, mostly.  I admit I was chuffed to see Jon Snow presenting lakeside “fresh in from Iran.. on a beautiful Fermanagh evening.”

And never mind Obama. Unfashionable as it is to praise any British Prime Minister for anything they do on this island, let’s hear it for David Cameron whose bold and imaginative decision it was to locate G8 in Fermanagh. At the wind-up of the talks he had energy left to end on an uplifting local note.

All of the G8 leaders commented on how remarkable to hold this G8 here, what a powerful message it sent and what it meant for them. That transformation was made possible by the determination of so many people in all sections of the community.

Stressing the opportunities that the G8 could open up, Mr Cameron said he would attend an investment conference in Northern Ireland in October.

Despite the usual feverish searches for carping notes “ why fly the Irish flag?” £50 million cost of security” etc. the Irish Times headline got it right, although carefully attributing it to “politicians”( guess who?).  What has been “bought” is more than publicity for an exclusive venue. Is it the sense that Northern Ireland can be integrated into a normal global world. G8 points to a context beyond navel gazing. While nodding politely in our direction, political leaders came here to talk about bigger things than us and our small exceptionalism. OK, perhaps without our exceptionalism they would not have come this time. But in the era of devolution it had to be Northern Ireland’s turn one day.

I only wish the sour and obviously uncomfortable Putin had been asked if he had any lessons from the peace process.    Slightly more controversially, only the UK could have given us this particular opportunity while acknowledging assistance in staging from the Republic and rightly inviting Enda Kenny to the EU/ US free trade deal session. The Republic can host a great sentimental journey anytime but only the UK can still provide a world stage.

G8 was also David Cameron’s discreet boost to the Union and he pledges more. But don’t worry. It’s  a Union in permanent partnership with Ireland.

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  • pauluk


  • GavBelfast

    While the fawning (over Obama) which we are a bit too good at (we’re a bit too good at being self-congratulatory, too, in the same way that we are also terribly sensitive about receiving criticism) was irritating, it WAS a great showcase for a beautiful part of the world, and even the weather behaved itself.

    He certainly didn’t have to have it here, so, yes, well done, David.

    Oh, and, yes: I could more than live with the Taoiseach and the Republic’s flag being part of it. Our position in the UK is unique, as is the Republic’s relationship with the UK.

    Whatever the long-term future holds, the two islands’ are and always will be inextricably linked.

  • Whatever the long-term future holds, the two islands’ are and always will be inextricably linked.

    Very true, just look at the number o people in the UK who are of Irish desent. But some people cannot see that.

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    yeah, pretty amazing it went so well really. Good work.

  • Greenflag

    And herself (Mrs Obama and the daughters ) got to visit Glendalough , Trinity College and saw Riverdance . Well done all round I’d say and can only help NI’s image across the globe.

  • Zig70

    The best argument I’ve seen yet for spending money on the road system in the west. A gem of a place, chosen because it’s more hassle than it is worth to get to without a black hawk. Did any of the world leaders visit the giants causeway? Did no one suggest it?

  • GavBelfast

    Sure … the golf resort there will be the venue (with the Giant’s Causeway the photogenic backdrop) the next time it’s the UK’s turn.

    (National Trust: take note.)


  • SK

    Felt bad for those kids though. Should’ve taken them to Funderland or Clara Lara or something

  • jagmaster

    The pleasant weather the G8 summit enjoyed seems very coincidental. Alongside the recent Bilderberg group meeting which also experienced fine weather it lends further credence to the HAARP conspiracy theory.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Putin’s temper cannot have been improved by his efforts to swim in Lough Erne. One can only hope that the nitrate content has not given him an unwanted skin-peal.

    But please remember that these people have experience of some of the finest hotels in the world for their (richly funded) efforts to “sort out” the Global Ecomomy. Even with a little milky sunshine I can hardly imagine that they were seriously impressed.

    When will our local masters and their tame media realise that there is more to attracting tourism than Golf and the local attempts at Nouvelle Cuisine? Or hoping that the international Great and Good will be climbing over one another to enjoy the unique ambiance of Lough Erne or the Gaint’s Causeway from the behind the (usually) rain lashed windows of another breeze-block kitch Versailles. But I suppose that one half of them consider our most significant tourist resourse, one of the greatest and most ancient literatures of Europe, both in Irish and English languages, is a sectarian issue!!! And the other half want to keep their current monopoly on Kultur to themselves………