Mast anger

OPPOSITION is growing amongst Artane residents to the erection of a mobile phone mast on a site on Harmonstown Road. However, Vodafone Ireland PLC has moved to reassure one local resident recovering from cancer that the mast will not affect her health.

Noreen Downes, who lives opposite the proposed mast site, told Northside People she had to undergo nine serious facial operations when she was diagnosed with cancer three years ago.

“I spent four months in St James’s Hospital and lost an eye and a large part of my mouth due to cancer,” said Ms Downes.

“Of course I have worries about a mobile phone mast going up here. The jury is still very much out when it comes to determining if these masts are actually harmful to people’s health.

“I have genuine concerns as I feel I’m possibly that bit more vulnerable.”

Ms Downes said she first heard of the intention to erect a mast some weeks ago and immediately objected to Dublin City Council.

“I posted off my objection and I believe several other residents have done the same,” she said.

“Life hasn’t been easy since my operations and I live alone here.

“I still have to attend hospital with regard to my health but I intend to live a peaceful life here.

“I don’t need any extra worries and I don’t care if that upsets mobile phone operators.”

Olivia Dobbs, a spokesperson for Vodafone, moved to allay Ms Downes’ fears.

Ms Dobbs told Northside People that the mobile phone industry is one of the most regulated in the world today.

“The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that the Electro Magnetic Fields (EMF), which emanate from the masts, pose no danger to people’s health,” said Ms Dobbs.

“While I do appreciate that if someone is ill, any change they may experience in their immediate environment could possibly cause stress. This is certainly not what Vodafone is about.

“However, we know that the science and the research that has been done on EMF points to the same conclusion – that there are no proven adverse health effects.

Omega this is not true. See under:

“I would be more than happy to talk personally to Ms Downes to reassure her or to send her out some information that she may find useful.”

Ms Dobbs pointed out that while Vodafone had applied for planning permission for a new mast at Harmonstown Road, they also intend to remove a mast from another site in the area, as it is not delivering the service required.

“This site is not delivering to our customers’ needs, so we are replacing it with the new one; it’s not like we are actually adding a new site to the area,” she said.

Another resident, Derek Quinn, who lives on Brookwood Rise, three doors from the proposed site for the new mast, said his concerns over the mast were mainly issues surrounding health.

“However, I also find the masts that are currently in position ugly to look at,” said Mr Quinn.

“I find these masts visually unpleasant and obtrusive and they can clearly be seen from my back garden.”

Cllr Sean Kenny (Lab) called for a special meeting of the North Central Area Committee with regard to the Vodafone planning application.

This meeting took place last week and was addressed by Dublin City Council planners.

Several residents from the Harmonstown Road area also attended.
Cllr Kenny said: “The granting of this new permission would bring the total number of masts to four in a relatively small area.

“This cluster of masts is close to residential housing at Harmonstown Road, Brookwood Rise, and Ennafort Road.”

Cllr Kenny is calling on the Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche, to review the operation of the Planning and Development Regulations in relation to mobile phone masts.


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