Belfast Telegraph

Police called to anti-gold mine protest at Cookstown council meeting

By Michael Sheils McNamee

Police have intervened to stop anti-gold mine protesters entering an invite-only conference in Cookstown.

The Future Search event is being held at the Glenavon House Hotel from Wednesday through until Friday, and is facilitated by Mid Ulster District Council, with the support of Causeway Coast and Glens District Council, Derry City and Strabane District Council, and Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.

The protest was coordinated by Greencastle Community Group and supported by Save Our Sperrins, both of which oppose the construction of a gold mine by Canadian mining company Dalradian at Curraghinalt in Co Tyrone.

Although the council declined to release a list of attendees prior to the event, it was the groups understanding the company had been invited.

The group cited a lack of transparency as one of the main reasons for the protest, pointing to the fact it had been staged using £40,000 drawn from the four district councils.

A PSNI spokesperson said: "Police in Cookstown were aware of an event taking place at a hotel on Drum Road this morning. Police entered the hotel shortly before 11am following reports from staff that a number of people had attempted to gain entry to a meeting that was taking place in the hotel.

"Police spoke with staff and a number of persons involved and the matter was resolved. There were no complaints made to police regarding the incident."

A spokesperson for Greencastle Community Group said: "It’s disappointed that there has been £40,000 and the time and effort of the PSNI spent to cover an event that is supposed to be working for a community that are standing outside."

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, SDLP councillor for Mid Tyrone Rosemarie Shields said: "The main bone of contention is the plans for a processing plant. I don’t believe that any area of outstanding natural beauty is the place for such a plant."

In a full-page advertisement featured in Wednesday's Tyrone Constitution newspaper, Dalradian announced it will "lodge a regionally significant planning application with the Department for Infrastructure in the coming weeks".

The advertisement Dalradian have in today's Tyrone Constitution.

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