Terrorist attacks are the sad reality of Northern Ireland and should be expected during the G8 summit, according to the the PSNI commander of the security operation.

On June 17 and 18 the G8 leaders of industrialized nations will meet at the Lough Erne resort in County Fermanagh for the biggest security operation in the biggest in the PSNI's history.

Speaking ahead of the G8 summit, Assistant Chief Constable Alistair Finlay said dissident republican attacks are part of the "normal backdrop" of life.

The Belfast Telegraph
reports that Finlay predicts that dissidents will not target the conference venue in Fermanagh.

Finlay said: "I've got no reason to say that dissidents won't do something during that period of time. This is the normal backdrop. This has been the backdrop, the sad reality of Northern Ireland over quite a period of time.

“There is nothing to suggest that the rhythm of that will be disrupted. It would be great if it did, and maybe the policing operation, which is in part designed to do that, will prevent any of that happening during the G8. But we would say people shouldn't be surprised if there are incidents. We anticipate those incidents won't be at, near or affecting any part of the delivery of the G8.”

The New IRA and ONH (Oglaigh na hEireann) are currently the most active dissident groups, he said.

He added: "The period of G8 is an opportunity for those groups who want to feel they're noticed by threatening harm to communities and to my officers in their normal business. During that period of time the policing footprint around Northern Ireland will be large, there will be significant opportunities of detention, and those are features that the dissident terrorist doesn't particularly find attractive."

The PSNI official said that 3,600 police from outside Northern Ireland will be drafted in for the summit.

"They are going to be focusing on venue protection, route protection. They are going to focus on management of protests associated with G8. They are not going to be doing normal PSNI policing business," he said.

"We will also embed with each unit coming from Great Britain a number of PSNI officers, and those PSNI officers of course are routinely armed with personal protection weapons. They will provide local knowledge but also a degree of protection."

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