Health fears over site of O2 mast

By: Vicki Weller

HEALTH and safety fears have triggered local objections to an O2 proposal to erect a mast at Hillsboro, just outside Newbridge town. The application was originally made by O2 in May but this was declared invalid after the site notice was deemed to insufficiently visible. It was then resubmitted, delaying the process somewhat.

O2 Communications Ireland has applied for the erection of the mast, antennae, equipment container and ancillary facilities at the Hillsboro site. Local resident James Conlon, who has objected to the application, states that he fears microwaves emitted by the mast could endanger the health of local people.

According to Mr Conlon, the proposed mast is to be located approximately 600 metres from his home, which he considers to be too close. “International studies indicate, and it is the policy of many councils, that such masts should be located at least one kilometre from residential housing.”

Mr Conlon also points out that there are already five mobile masts in the immediate locality of the Hillsborough townland, three of which are O2 masts, and two erected by Vodafone. His submission to the council notes that there are already enough masts to service the area, since these masts can be shared between the mobile phone operators.

“There is no need for another mast,” he concludes.

Similar reasons for objection are cited by another resident, Oliver Murphy, who states that the proximity of the mast could result in illeffects to the health of his family.

The Hillsborough site earmarked by O2 is located close to the sandpit operated by local businessman Seamus Tougher. Mr Tougher has not, however, objected to the application, saying that he “does not want to get involved”.

“I am running a business here and I’m not really concerned about this. These masts are all over the place. I use a mobile phone myself. I also believe that the technology is changing and the masts might even be obsolete in a few years’ time,” he commented.

Kildare County Council spokesman Charlie Talbot said that the closing date for objections to the O2 application was Monday 28 August and a decision was now expected on 17 September.

© Kildare Nationalist, 2006.



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