From the moment that the British Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed Lough Erne Golf Resort in nearby Fermanagh as the location for the 2013 G8 Summit, news organisations, travel agents and government agencies were busily ‘googling’ hotels and accommodation options within easy reach of the destination with the result that hotels in Donegal have been receiving unprecedented levels of enquiries from as far away as Japan and Russia.
The Donegal Democrat can confirm that one hotelier in South Donegal had his hotel completely booked out within five minutes of the official announcement.
Paul Diver of the Sandhouse Hotel said, “I saw the announcement on the Democrat’s website and immediately phoned reception and told them to contact me in relation to any accommodation enquiries around the confirmed June dates.
“I literally put down the phone and immediately it rang with a request from the BBC to book out the hotel for the three days surrounding the summit.
“Needless to say I was absolutely delighted and since then we have been receiving calls from practically every corner of the globe including media agencies from Japan, Russia and the UK.
“It is a great bonus for the whole North Western region of the island and it will prove that by working together, keeping our prices right, we can all benefit.”
But not everyone is delighted. Micheal Mac Giolla Easbuig, a Donegal based activist, denounced the announcement and asked for mass protests to be held.
Nonethe less, the Chairman of the Irish Hotels Federation, Terry McEniff was one of many who were celebrating the news.
He said it was incumbent on Tourism Ireland and Failte Ireland to maximise the potential that this event has created.
“From a personal point of view, we also have been receiving enquiries from all over the world and I know this to be true for other hotels, particularly in the south of the county. At this stage in time we are practically full.
“From a more long term point of view, I would call on the Government agencies to pull out all the stops to put the North West firmly on the world wide map.
“Apart from the G8 itself, Ireland is also hosting the EU Presidency which means that there will be a strong Irish dimension for the first time ever at a G8.
“There is now an opportunity for both Tourism Ireland and Failte Ireland to put this region on the world stage and showcase what is best to the estimated 3,000 media people who will be attending.”
Political reaction has been enthusiastic. Jim Higgins, MEP said, “This will easily be the highest-profile event to ever be held in the border region.
“I certainly hope all such visiting dignitaries and media personnel are encouraged to take the time to make the short journey to Ireland North West to sample the wealth of attractions the constituency has to offer,”
However, Micheal Mac Giolla Easbuig said it was important there was mass opposition to the summit and said such events were the starting point for many of today’s global problems.
He said, “People need to realise the reasoning behind this summit.
“This is a gathering of the leaders of the world’s wealthiest countries, whose primary objective is to create the conditions for global corporations to exploit human and natural resources for profit.”
He added, “In the coming months I hope to see a groundswell of opposition to the G8 summit and call on all progressive groups and individuals to get involved and publicly voice opposition to the G8 taking place anywhere in Ireland.
“It is crucial that we mobilise mass opposition to this summit both here in Ireland and internationally.”