Residents fight against masts

Today's (01.04.2006) print edition of THE IRISH TIMES carries a large photograph of children from Curaraheen National School, in Co. Kerry, carrying protest banners outside the Dublin constituency office of the governmental minister John O'Donoghue. Regrettably, I can't locate this photograph with its accompanying caption in the newspaper's online edition, so can't send it along to you for posting.

However, the IRISH EXAMINER last Wednesday (29.03.2006) reported on another protest organised by the same Kerry school against the erection of a mast. I will transcribe this below.

Imelda O'Connor

WEDNESDAY 29.03.2006

By Donal Hickey, Kerry

A COMMUNITY in the scenic Ring of Kerry yesterday protested against the erection of mobile phone masts in their area.

Clara Leahy, spokesperson for the Mountain Stage community between Glenbeigh and Caherciveen, said they were very unhappy with decisions by An Bord Pleanála in relation to masts.

“Kerry County Council, because of its ban on the erection of masts within one kilometre of residential buildings, has been refusing planning permission for these masts, but An Bord Pleanála is granting permission on appeal,” she said.

Ms Leahy said one mast had been erected in the area and two others were under appeal to An Bord Pleanála.

“Our main objection is on health and safety grounds.

“If the mobile phone companies can give us a written guarantee that these masts pose no risks to people’s health, we’ll sit down and negotiate with the companies.

“There’s a great need for the companies to consult local communities. We believe the companies should go for sites on top of mountains and other elevated areas, rather than opting for low-lying sites.”

Ms Leahy said her community was concerned about moves by some Kerry councillors to have the one-kilometre ban removed.

“Do the councillors want to put people’s health in danger? How sure are these councillors that there’s a safe level of radiation coming from these masts?”

Mobile companies have been pressing for an easing of restrictions, arguing that more masts are needed if reception for customers is to be improved.

Meanwhile, Tourism Minister John O’Donoghue has hit out at attempts by Independent Councillor Michael Healy-Rae to contravene the county development plan so as to allow the erection of a phone mast to service the Black Valley, a telecommunications blackspot.

Mr O’Donoghue said a feasibility study had been approved and it should be allowed to be completed.

But Fianna Fáil Councillor Tom Fleming said he was confident An Bord Pleanála would grant planning permission for two masts near the valley, which would serve the 70 residents.


Ireland: Anti-mast postcard campaign


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