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Derelict Northern Ireland shops get facelift ahead of G8 summit

Cathal McNaughton / Reuters

A man walks his dog past a vacant store, with graphics pasted to the outside to make it look like a working butcher's shop -- down to a fake open door --in the village of Belcoo, Northern Ireland.The upcoming G-8 summit will be held at a nearby golf resort. Local councils in Northern Ireland have painted fake shop fronts and covered derelict buildings with huge billboards to hide the economic hardship being felt in towns and villages near the golf resort where world leaders will meet.

The Northern Ireland border village of Belcoo has never looked so good. And critics say that's just the problem.

Organizers of the Group of Eight summit of world leaders in Northern Ireland June 17-18 have spent weeks sprucing up the facades of businesses all around the County Fermanagh venue. Their use of window-sized posters on two derelict Belcoo shops, to make them appear like thriving businesses with fully stocked shelves, has proved most eye-catching — indeed, eye-fooling.

While many in the border village of barely 500 residents and two pubs applaud the novel use of posters to give their home a cheerier look, some complain they've covered up the reality of economic hard times.

To passing motorists, the former Flanagan's butcher's shop in Belcoo looks packed to the rafters with fresh cuts of meat. Its locked door even has a poster on it, depicting an open door so convincing that would-be shoppers have nearly strolled into the wall.

In reality Belcoo, which lies directly on the Republic of Ireland border and about 10 miles south of the luxury golf resort hosting the G8 summit, has been hard hit by the staggering collapse of Ireland's Celtic Tiger economy. Read the full story.

Peter Morrison / AP

Women walk past a derelict shop, its windows covered in giant posters to make it look like an inviting cheese shop, in Fivemiletown, a village on the road to Enniskillen, the site of the G-8 summit in Northern Ireland.


Cathal McNaughton / Reuters

Security fencing covered with scenic pictures of County Fermanagh surrounds an unfinished building site in the village of Irvinestown, June 3, 2013.

Peter Morrison / AP

A woman walks past a derelict shop, its windows covered in giant posters to make it look like a cafe, in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland on June 6, 2013.

Peter Muhly / AFP - Getty Images

A derelict caravan is seen on June 14 with the letters 'G8 H Quarters' written on it in a field near the Lough Erne Golf Resort, where the G-8 summit will be held.

Cathal McNaughton / Reuters

Waste ground is hidden by a protective screen printed with scenic views of Fermanagh, near the Lough Erne Golf Resort on June 10, 2013.

Cathal McNaughton / Reuters

A girl runs past anti-G-8 posters stuck to a wall along the Falls Road in West Belfast on June 14, 2013.

Peter Morrison / AP

A member of ground staff paints a sign on the 18th tee box at Lough Erne Golf Resort on June 6, 2013. The resort is due to host the G-8 summit on June 17-18.


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