Uproar in Edenmore

RESIDENTS are claiming that a recent decision by An Bord Pleanala in Edenmore opens up the prospect of mobile telephone masts being installed in the heart of residential areas without any planning permission.Local residents in the Woodbine, Millwood Park, and the Edenmore Crescent areas, are outraged by the decision to grant permission for mobile phone antennae at St Monica's GAA Club in Edenmore. Protests over the erection of the mobile phone masts took place at the site last summer. However, An Board Pleanala has now ruled that an application by the local GAA club to install a telephone mast on its floodlights is exempt from the need for planning permission. The decision by An Bord Pleanala follows a directive issued by the then Minister for the Environment, Noel Dempsey, in 2001. The directive allows for certain exemptions to the planning laws for the erection of mobile phone masts on structures such as lamp posts. But residents claim that the decision completely undermines guidelines on masts in the recent Dublin City Development Plan. The aim of these guidelines was to prevent masts from being erected near schools or residential areas.

However, Kieran Wright, local residents' spokesperson, said the phone masts were now erected in close proximity to two schools and their fears were mainly related to health issues.

“I have a 10-year-old son who I've had to move from his bedroom because he's so worried about the impact of the phone masts,” he said. “It's a totally cosmetic exercise, of course. “It's also the situation that local kids go to a school which is right beside the phone masts. They then go home to a house which is right beside the phone masts, so they are subjected to any possible ill effects for a total 24 hours.” Mr Wright claimed that the rights of the local Edenmore community have now been completely overrun by big business concerns. “You work hard to get your own little house together and then suddenly a massive structure like this is just landed on your doorstep and there appears to be very little you can do about it,” he said. “It's very frustrating.” Dublin North Central TD, Richard Bruton (FG), said that as a result of the ruling, the first place telephone companies will look to is local sports grounds for the erection of antennae.



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