THE Secretary of State, Dr. John Reid, described the people of Irvinestown as “way ahead of the rest” in their cross-community activity as he opened the 23rd Lady of the Lake Festival in the town last Monday.

Dr. Reid (pictured right), who was greeted by Sheriff Geoff ‘Buffalo’ Heaver and Ryan Williams on his first visit to Fermanagh, told the large crowd gathered in front of the stage on the main street that it was “tremendous to come to a festival that brings in both sides of the community”.

“If everyone else in Northern Ireland could just make something of what you’ve got here ... we would be a lot further on,” he added.

After a Buddy Holly song duet with BBC personality George Jones, the Secretary of State revealed 18-year-old Nicola Carty as this year’s Lady of the Lake.