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Locals annoyed that derelict shop facelift for G8 hides their economic woes

A reported £300,000 has been used on pre-G8 cosmetic work for Fermanagh that locals believe could have been better spent on reviving a real local employer.

Women walk past a derelict shop, its windows covered in giant posters to make it look like a deli store, in Fivemiletown, Northern Ireland. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

MOST OF COUNTY Fermanagh has been spruced up for the upcoming meeting of world leaders at Lough Erne.

However, the use of window-sized posters on some derelict buildings has annoyed locals as they believe it covers up the realities of the economic hardships the area is going through.

To passing motorists, the former Flanagan’s butcher’s shop in Belcoo looks packed to the rafters with fresh cuts of meat, while across the road, a former pharmacy’s windows have been covered with images of shelves full of office supplies, books and computer software.


In reality Belcoo, which is 15 kilometres south of the luxury golf resort hosting the G8 summit, has been hard hit by the collapse of the Celtic Tiger. Many who were previously employed in construction sites have struggled to find work as the area’s biggest employer, Sean Quinn, has seen his cross-border business seized.

Elsewhere, the village of Fivemiletown has witnessed its own transformation of two vacant storefronts into an antiques shop and a delicatessen, complete with a bicycle propped outside the door.

This down and out shop has been made look like a cafe, in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

“Some people are putting out the idea that there’s no such a thing as a closed-down business in Fermanagh. It’s a huge lie and a false economy,” Phil Flanagan, whose family shut down Belcoo’s butcher shop last year.

A reported £300,000 has been used on pre-G8 cosmetic work for Fermanagh that Flanagan believes could have been better spent on reviving a real local employer.

The G8 meeting in Fermanagh, which will take place on 17 and 18 June, will be the 39th summit to be held, and the first one to take place in Northern Ireland.

We’d like to hear your thoughts about this. Poll: Is this a novel use of posters to give a town a much cheerier look or should the buildings be left as they are for all the world to see?

Poll Results:

Shop fronts should be changed (1421)
Shop fronts should not be changed (1058)
I don't know (548)

- Additional reporting Associated Press, 2013

Read: 57 people arrested in London as police clash with G8 protesters>
More: President Higgins asked to sign ‘mobile phone shutdown’ laws early>

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