Ballygunner mobile mast controversy isn’t going away

Friday, May 05, 2006

RESIDENTS of Ballygunner and parents of children attending local schools are being urged to attend a public meeting on Tuesday next (May 9) amid continued concerns over a mobile phone mast in the area.

The meeting will take place in the Scout Hall in Ballygunner at 8pm and there’ll be a number of guest speak-ers providing information and answering questions in relation to radiation risks.

A new parents group called the ‘Concerned Parents In Relation to Masts’ has been formed in the locality and they’ve undertaken to fight the location of a mast on Ballygunner GAA Club’s grounds to the bitter end.

A planning application for retention of the Meteor mast on the sports grounds is still before Waterford City Council who’ve asked the club and the phone company for further information.

The mast has been opera-tional since late last year but only came to the attention of many residents, now hugely concerned about possible health risks, two months ago. The GAA club, who signed a deal with Meteor, applied to the Council for retention permission at the end of January.

However, 23 objections were lodged by disgruntled members of the community, including the Parents Association at St. Mary’s School (which is right beside the GAA grounds) and also the principle Michael White.

A decision had been due in March but it’s understood that just before this a delegation of residents met with Council planning officials - and as a consequence further information was requested.

It’s understood senior planning officials developed concerns having examined close-up photos of the mast they hadn’t seen previously.

The new parents’ group in Ballygunner involves some 12 people who have issued invitations to both the GAA club and Meteor representatives to attend the upcoming meeting.

They’re taking inspiration from a recent meeting in Limerick organised by a group called BEST (Better Environmenal Safety Telecommunications) in conjunction with the ‘Irish Doctors Environmental Agency’ and the ‘Victims of Radiation Network’.

Members of the Water-ford group attended the event and invited representatives from all three groups to speak as guests in Water-ford next Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the ‘Concerned Parents’ said “We will fight this mast all the way to An Bord Plean·la if necessary.

“There’s growing evidence to suggest that these masts prevent a serious risk and in fact, a Joint Oireachtas committee is currently examining this...and has recommended that the provision of masts beside places like schools and hospitals be halted until they’ve completed their work.”

© Waterford News & Star, 2006.


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