Residents up in arms over phone mast

22/02/2006 - 19:29:27

Up to 600 local residents are protesting in south Co Dublin tonight over a controversial mobile phone mast.

The telecoms structure on Shankill Garda Station will accommodate up to 12 mobile phone antennae but locals claim there has been no consultation with them and are protesting against its construction.

Three schools and two residential developments are within 500m of the mast, which is being built by telecoms firm Vilicom.

The issue was raised at the Oireachtas Environment Committee in Leinster House earlier today with OPW officials.

Local TD Ciaran Cuffe complained that current regulations allow for a mast to be replaced, and for up to 12 additional antennae to be placed on it, without public consultation.

However OPW commissioner David Byers insisted that the mast complied with relevant health and safety regulations.

He said the project was similar to others at other Garda stations throughout the state under the Transforming State Assets Programme.

He told the Committee that the closer mobile phone users are to a mast, the safer radiation levels will be.

“The further away your handset is from your antennae when you’re making a call, the more powerful your handset has to be to get to the antennae,” he said.

“If you had a concern, I would have thought that you would be more worried about a transmitter too close to your ear than an antennae several hundred yards away.

“The more extra masts there are out there, the less powerful the handset has to be to reach them.”

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Co Council had previously asked the OPW to stop work on the project over residents’ concerns that it didn’t have planning permission.

However the Council confirmed earlier this month that the development was legal as it was a replacement of an original structure that had secured planning.



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