Until last week we thought next year’s “Gathering” would be Ireland’s émigrés coming home to be “tapped up for few bob”, as Gabriel Byrne put it. Now we know the North’s special gathering is to be the G8 summit in Fermanagh.
Do world leaders have any idea how wet it is? For a couple of months in the year Lough Erne is in Fermanagh and for the rest of the year Fermanagh is in Lough Erne. Sure there’s powerful evidence for Darwin’s theory of evolution in the fact Fermanagh people are born with webbed feet.
David Cameron said he was bringing world leaders to, “this beautiful part of the United Kingdom.”
We can all agree that it’s beautiful, in spite of all that rain, even if most locals don’t want it to be in the United Kingdom.
David Cameron has a more positive view of Ulster’s Lakeland than his Tory predecessor Winston Churchill.
“…As the deluge subsides and the waters fall short we see the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone emerging once again,” was Churchill’s famous comment after the First World War.
But will the summit bring any lasting benefit?
The jury is still out on that one. What we do know is that the whole Fermanagh/Leitrim/Cavan and South Donegal border region desperately needs any help it can get. That’s especially so with the threat to jobs in the mighty Sean Quinn’s former empire hanging over the area.
Let’s hope positive publicity for the G8 gathering can help.