Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, took in some of the sites and attractions Fermanagh has to offer as well as meeting some local business people as more and more businesses reopen following lockdown.

Mr. Lewis visited the Marble Arch Caves, Enniskillen Castle, Enniskillen Royal Boat Club, The Watermill Restaurant and visited some shops in the town before heading to the Lough Erne Resort for his meeting with local business people.

The tour has given Mr. Lewis an insight into how the county is reopening following the coronavirus lockdown and he said that everybody has their part to play in ensuring the shops on the high street are able to recover and thrive once more.

In his meeting with the local businesses, Mr. Lewis said there were issues raised but he said the government will do whatever it can to help.

“Enniskillen has got the issues around the public highway works going on at the moment which is for a long term benefit but in the short term those things cause a bit of pain and we all know that when we see these works going on.

“They are keen to see that come through but also very conscious of the impact the lockdown has had. The number of businesses that haven’t reopened yet or maybe at all in the high street is one of the real challenges we have got.

“I was talking to a fruit and veg shop owner in Enniskillen about how you encourage people who have been using their facilities and their shop during lockdown actually staying as loyal customers and not going straight back to the supermarkets but actually supporting them.

“Because the problem is we all love our town centres, they are the heartbeats of our communities and to keep them thriving we as consumers have to go and use them. So helping to try and encourage that, I think is a really key thing and we all have a part to play in that.

“We will do whatever it takes, you can’t always save every business, some businesses will have other issues going on at the same time but we are going to do as much as we can to protect as many people as we can.”

Mr. Lewis was full of admiration for what Fermanagh has to offer and encouraged people to get out and see what’s right on their doorstep which is another way of helping local businesses recover after a number of difficult months.

“It’s just stunning. Wherever you go there are beautiful views, beautiful scenery, great offers and I’d encourage people to get out if they have been out and not seen it for a while because of lockdown.

“Quite often one of the things you find time and again people forget what’s in their own back yard.

“We travel off to far flung places to see wondrous things when we’ve got wondrous things right here, so I would say to people if they’ve not been out and taken advantage over the last few years, this summer is a good time to do it and you are helping local business and helping your own people locally to have a positive year after the difficulties we have all seen through lockdown.”