Towering intrusion

A NEW mast that has been erected at Coolock Garda Station has sparked fury amongst residents living to the rear of the station. However, the Office of Public Works (OPW) is adamant that the mast meets all the necessary health and safety guidelines, as well as planning regulations.

Residents in Coolock Village live right beside the mast. It can be seen from their living room windows and towers above their homes.

They spoke exclusively to Northside People last week about their campaign to have the “monstrosity” removed.

Resident Caroline Bradley claimed that locals were not informed that the new mast, which was first installed on May 15, was being constructed.
“On that day, traffic was unable to access the cul-de-sac as a small tractor blocked an entrance,” said Ms Bradley.

“Subsequent works were also carried out on the mast two weeks later, yet we were not made aware of this either.”

Marion Swift, who has lived there for the past nine years, said that in the event of an accident, they worried that an ambulance would not have been able to enter the Close at this time.

The residents also fear for the safety of their children due to the mast's existence on their doorstep.

“We have a cub scouts' den and residential units all around with two schools 10 minutes away,” said Caroline Bradley.

The neighbours also feel the mast could pose a serious health hazard and say that the “threat of radiation and possible emissions from the mast cannot be ignored”.

Meanwhile, for Village Close residents, a number of questions remain unanswered.

Joan Black commented: “The masts are here to stay. It's a fact of life. What we want to know is the safe legal distance that a mast can be installed from our home.

“Are people that are a few miles away as affected by the small level of radiation as us, because we are faced with this constantly?”

With house prices still on the increase, Ms Black also feels that the arrival of the mast will not do them any favours.

“The value of our homes might depreciate in such a sought after residential area which benefits from close proximity to the Garda station,” she said.

Residents of the Close said they didn't understand why the existing mast had to be enlarged as the previous one that occupied the same spot was smaller and did not create any problems.

All of the residents are united in their efforts to have the mast removed and hope to enlist the help of local politicians, whom they point out, have been elected to represent them in such matters. They also vowed to extend their campaign to the wider community and are planning to organise a petition.

When contacted by Northside People for comment, a spokesman for the OPW said the Commissioners of Public Works have granted licences to three mobile phone companies to install telecommunications equipment on the mast at Coolock Garda Station.

“This is as part of the ongoing programme of licensing mobile phone operators to install equipment on Garda masts,” he said.

The spokesman said that for structural reasons, it was necessary to replace the original mast with a new mast and this was carried out in accordance with the requisite planning regulations.

“The original mast has now been removed from the site,” he said.

“Under the terms of their licence agreement, the mobile phone operators are required to install and operate all equipment in accordance with all relevant legislation, including health and safety and planning.”


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