A five-star luxury hotel in Fermanagh who hosted The National Party three times “were unaware of the political party in question”.

The Lough Erne Resort on the outskirts of Enniskillen – which had previously hosted the G8 Conference in 2013, and a British-Irish Council meeting in 2021 – last weekend hosted the Ard Fheis of the National Party. Prior to the Ard Fheis, a brawl broke out involving protesters.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the National Party stated they had previously held an event in the hotel. A spokesperson said: “This is not the first time we have used this venue and previous to this event, as with National Party events throughout Ireland, it has been without negative incident of any kind.”

The National Party, which is based in the Republic of Ireland, was founded in 2016. It is a nationalist and anti-immigration party which has also campaigned against abortion and Covid-19 restrictions.

When asked by The Impartial Reporter how many times the National Party had used facilities in the hotel, a Lough Erne Resort spokesperson said: “The Lough Erne Resort has hosted many different private functions over the years, including gatherings of world leaders, politicians, councils, and police services. In the thousands of private bookings at the Resort nothing like this isolated, unsavoury, and unprecedented incident, that occurred on Sunday November 13, has ever happened before.

“The Resort totally condemns any type of intimidation and any form of extremism whether it be motivated by politics, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity - or any other representation of extremism. The Resort has always taken bookings in good faith.

‘Security checks’

They continued: “As is normal practice, the Resort works closely with the relevant authorities on any event requiring external security checks as guided by the police or Garda. There was no prior requirement from any authority with regards to this booking.”

“The conference organiser that made this booking has previously used the Resort facilities twice since 2016, without controversy. Our team were unaware of the political party in question and therefore did not envisage any issue with the booking.”

Hitting out at criticism regarding the event, a spokesperson said: “The Resort would also like to express its disappointment in the hurtful online abuse by extremists directed at our resort and hard-working, valued staff regarding this isolated event which is not warranted and extremely distressing for many at the Resort.”

In a statement released to press earlier this week, a Lough Erne Resort spokesperson also said: “The health and safety of our staff and guests, along with our guest experience, is paramount, and we will therefore be increasing our levels of due diligence in relation to private conference bookings in the future.”

“We would like to reiterate our sincere appreciation to the emergency services for their speedy assistance, and we would like to assure all guests that it is business as usual at the resort.”

It is understood that protesters who describe themselves as ‘Anti-Fascist’ protested the event, and an altercation then broke out.

Six people were injured, with four people hospitalised. Following the incident, National Party’s Ard Fheis went ahead with pictures and clips from it uploaded to social media.

Regarding the event, a PSNI spokesperson said: “Police received a report of an altercation in the Lough Shore Road area of Enniskillen shortly after 1pm on Sunday November 13.

Inspector Taylor said: “It was reported that a conference, which was being held in the area, had been disrupted by protesters and an altercation broke out.

“Officers attended and calm was restored a short time later.

“Two people were treated at the scene for their injuries with a further five taken to hospital with injuries which are not believed to be life threatening at this time.”