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article imageAusterity has been 'painted over' in Belcoo, N Ireland for the G8

By Anne Sewell     Jun 17, 2013 in Business
Belcoo - Belcoo in Co. Fermanagh, Northern Ireland is the host city for officials from the wealthy G8 nations. To hide the fact that the town has been hit badly by the current austerity, shops have been painted over to look like they are thriving businesses.
We can't have the architects of austerity seeing the actual effects of this austerity, so several run-down and abandoned shops have been "prettied up" with paint and have a variety of stickers stuck on their windows, including the "thriving" butcher's shop in the photo above left.
The shop closed some time ago, but you wouldn't think so to glance at it. However, look closely, and you will see that even the door has a huge sticker on it. A larger version of the photo has been included at the end of this article.
In fact, hundreds of thousands of pounds have been spent on this wonderful facelift to the town, merely to fool the visitors, and locals are complaining that this work, paid for by the local council and the Stormont Executive is only skin deep.
Not only the butcher's shop, but actually more than 100 properties which are within the range of, or available for drive-by to and from, the Lough Erne resort which will be hosting the world's wealthiest leaders, have had the beauty makeover.
Locals say, however, that this makeover only serves to hide the deeper problems which visitors such as US president Barack Obama, German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president François Hollande and Co. will not actually get to see.
So now we have a former butcher's shop, painted and decorated with stickers to look like a working butcher's business. Across the road can be seen what used to be a pharmacy, but is now pretending to be an office supplies store.
In other prime spots around the area, billboard-sized pictures of gorgeous scenery have been pasted to mask the occasional stark and abandoned building site or other abandoned eyesore.
Kevin Maguire is an unemployed man of 62 who has lived all his life in Belcoo. He told the Irish Times, "The shop fronts are cosmetic surgery for serious wounds. They are looking after the banks instead of saving good businesses."
"Where would you see a shop front in Northern Ireland like this anyway? It's more like something you'd find in Belgravia or Chelsea," he added, in reference to elite districts of London.
The Irish Times has a small slideshow showing the butcher's shop and other businesses that have been "enhanced."
Phil Flanagan, a relative of the former owner of brand-new fake butcher's shop, says: “I’ve never seen painters as busy”.
“I’ve no problem with that, but 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.”
Some residents are wondering what these fake shops are going to look like once President Obama and the other leaders have left the country.
Jim Leonard, a 50-year-old unemployed bricklayer, asked "In six months' time how are these shops going to look? They'll just be pieces of paper blowing around the ground."
Rootsaction believe that the G8 must change course. They say, "It's time to invest in people and public resources rather than profit and plunder." Anyone that agrees with this sentiment can sign a petition here.
Abandoned shopfronts painted and stickered over to look prosperous for the wealthy G8 crowd.
Abandoned shopfronts painted and stickered over to look prosperous for the wealthy G8 crowd.
More about Ireland, G8, Austerity, Fermanagh, Shops
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