Eight protestors were arrested following Tuesday’s night Council meeting in Omagh as they vented their anger and frustration at councillors and council officials over the way it is handling the ongoing mineral prospecting licensing around Greencastle, Co. Tyrone.

Over 20 protestors, some wearing yellow boiler suits, wigs and gas masks arrived at around 6.30pm carrying placards and banners opposing any goldmining in the area.

There was a stand-off between council officials and protestors in The Grange Council building before the meeting began. Protestors questioned why they were not allowed in to the chamber, with it looking at one stage that they may try and force their way past.

One protestor did manage to make his way up the stairs through another route.

As councillors were taking their seats in the chamber, a young girl read out a statement calling on the Council to protect the “health and wellbeing of the people you are paid to represent”.

“If you do not, you are failing us, you are failing yourselves and you are failing all future generations,” the protestor said.

Calm was restored while the meeting got underway, with protestors taking up the whole public gallery.

When the meeting ended there were some harsh and loud words between protestors and Sinn Féin representatives. With some protestors claiming Sinn Féin have not done enough to oppose Dalradian in their bid for a prospecting licence.

Protestors were informed by Alison McCullagh of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council that the meeting had ended and the building was now closed before a police officer added that anybody who did not leave the building would be arrested for failing to leave a public building.

In all seven men and one woman were arrested and escorted outside.

Protestors voiced their anger at how the meeting was running, claiming there was deliberate time wasting in order to avoid discussing important matters.

No motions were heard due to the time limit on the meeting.

The issue surrounding mineral licensing was to be discussed in confidential matters but the meeting did not get to that part of the agenda.

In addition, a motion around abortion, which is looking more and more likely to be legalised in Northern Ireland was not discussed. On October 21 if there is no Stormont, the Westminster government will have to create legislation for it to be passed in April 2020.

However there were discussions relating to fields and gates on the Newtownstewart to Omagh road and TV licences and Brexit.

As the final protestor was being arrested, despite attempts from others to get him to leave he refused, saying: “If you stand for nothing, you fall for everything.”

As the clock moved close to 11pm and the protestors were leaving, the frustration was clear to be seen and they reiterated that they believed the Council was not doing its job.

Superintendent Clive Beatty said: “Police were requested to attend premises in Mountjoy Road, Omagh last night, Tuesday, October 1. Eight campaigners were arrested on suspicion of failure to leave a public building. They were released to be reported to the PPS.”

In a statement released by the Council regarding the protest on Tuesday night a spokeswoman said: “Council staff and members should always be able to undertake their roles without fear of intimidation, threat or violence. The Council will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that staff and members can conduct their work in a safe and harmonious working environment.”