Campaign underway to have mobile phone antenna removed

Thursday, May 25, 2006

By: Joe Barrett

A CAMPAIGN is under-way in Portlaoise to have a mobile phone antenna removed from a local hotel.

The mast was erected on the rear of O’Loughlin’s Hotel on the town’s main street about three weeks ago. Since then resistance to it has grown.

PJ Kavanagh, proprietor of the Wren’s Nest public house which is next door to the hotel, said the antenna was just nine metres from his bedroom window.

“There are no facts that can prove emissions from telecommunication masts are safe,” he said.

He said he had contacted the 3 telecommunications company through his solicitor and had received a reply that they do not require planning permission to erect the antenna on an existing building.

However, Mr Kavanagh alleged the erection of the antenna contravened the county development plan, which states such antenna cannot be erected within 400 meters of built up areas or schools.

Mr Kavanagh pointed out there are three schools in close proximity to the antenna. He said as well as erecting the antenna, other development works have been carried out on the site without the approval of the planning authority.

“For me there’s nothing in the world to say it’s safe. I have to live beside it 24/7 and it’s totally unacceptable.”

Mr Kavanagh said a number of shop owners along Main Street have drawn up a petition and businesses, residents, customers and the shops’ staff have signed the petitions. In his public house alone he said he has, to date, gathered about 140 signatures opposing the antenna.

A council spokesperson said after receiving a complaint two weeks ago about works being carried out at the site they investigated the matter. At that time he said, cables and boxes were being laid. The council issued a letter to Mr O’Loughlin, the hotel’s proprietor, asking him to inform them what was planned.

Since then the spokesperson said an antenna and other, “unau-thorised,” developments had taken place. He said the council was now of the opinion planning permission was required for the works and had requested Mr O’Loughlin to regularise matters. “In other words either he takes it down or he looks for planning permission for it,” said the spokesperson.

The council’s spokesperson said they were not aware of the identity of the mobile company that had erected the antenna.

Proprietor of the hotel, Declan O’Loughlin, said he was not aware of concerns of anyone and has received no complaints about the antenna.

He advised this paper to contact the mobile phone company 3 to seek further information on the matter.

A spokesperson from 3 advised us to contact the contractors TCI for comment.

Acquisition agent with TCI Stewart Callander said his company had been in contact with the council and had submitted the necessary documents. He said he was satisfied all planning regulations had been met by his company.

Mr Callander said his company had received no complaints from local residents or businesses in the area.

© Laois Nationalist, 2006.


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