How do you tidy up your run-down town when a group of world leaders comes to visit? Northern Ireland has found a novel solution: Sticking fake storefronts onto derelict buildings. More than 100 properties in towns near the golf resort where G8 leaders will meet this month have been given cosmetic makeovers, while others have just been demolished, at a cost of around $3 million, RTE reports. "Northern Ireland is in the international spotlight so it is entirely right that we should portray it in the best light possible," says the environment minister.
It is almost literally a Band-aid solution: The fake storefronts are created with giant stickers that cover windows and doors. Residents are, not surprisingly, pretty unhappy that the funds have gone to impressing the likes of President Obama and Angela Merkel instead of building real businesses. "The shop fronts are cosmetic surgery for serious wounds. They are looking after the banks instead of saving good businesses," says one local. "In six months' time how are these shops going to look?" says another. "They'll just be pieces of paper blowing around the ground."