Irish cellphone providers to cut signals as security ramped up for Fermanagh G8 Summit
Massive telecom disruptions anticipated for duration of event
Security measures to protect the eight world leaders scheduled to attend the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland next month may prove to be a massive headache for the locals.
According to The Star, mobile phone providers across the border in the Republic could be asked to turn off cell phone signals during the summit over concerns that terrorists could use their signals to detonate remote bombs.
The Republic of Ireland Defense Minister Alan Shatter warned this week that there was a real danger that lives could be lost if the signals made it easier for potential terrorists to carry out a bomb attack.
'It is possible that terrorist groups may try to use the occasion of the summit to, at the very least, garner publicity for themselves,' Shatter said. 'This is not to ignore the very real danger of the loss of life if such a device were successfully detonated.'
The eight world leaders, including President Obama, will assemble for the G8 summit at the five star Lough Erne golf resort in County Fermanagh. During the visit the president is also scheduled to make his first official visit to Belfast.
In preparation for the visit Shatter said the G8 Summit was creating a real need for legislation to give the Irish government the power to ask phone companies to cut or limit their signals.
The proposed plan will reportedly be linked to the Irish government’s new Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Bill.
'The purpose of these amendments will be to allow for direction to issue to mobile phone service providers to cease service provision in a limited area in order to prevent death or damage to property,' Shatter said. 'The provision will contain safeguards to ensure that any interference to services is limited to the extent necessary to deal with the threat.'
Shatter said the threat posed by mobile phones was very real and added that cell phones may well have been used to trigger the two bombs that exploded at the Boston Marathon last month.
'There is a system where people can place improvised explosive devices and basically set them off from a distance by use of mobile phones,' he said. 'And we do have in this country in place a voluntary cooperative system with telecom companies to address this issue should it arise.'
'But I made the decision that it was important - because this is an issue about saving lives - that we put in place a statutory provision that ensures that should, for example, there be a difficulty in getting a telecom company in an emergency to cooperate, that we have a statutory authority to require cooperation.'
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