New mast sparks protests

RESIDENTS in Huntstown are up in arms again over the continued presence of mobile phone masts near a primary school in the area. Two heated public protests took place last week outside the Pinewood House commercial centre as residents vented their anger at the erection of a second mobile mast antenna at the site.

Pinewood House is in close proximity to the Sacred Heart Primary School and the residents fear that radiation from the phone masts could have potential health implications for their children.

Dr Gillian Mulholland, who represents the Huntstown Mast Action Group, told Northside People that they fear a third antenna may also be added.

“We are disgusted by this and will continue to campaign against the erection of such masts near the primary school until such time as something is done about it,” Dr Mulholland said.

Of particular concern to the residents is a new panel antenna that was erected on a side wall of Pinewood House during the summer months.

The residents are also angered by the fact that Fingal County Council is unable to do anything to prevent the masts being erected, due to the fact that they are exempted from planning permission.

An objective relating to mobile phone masts included in the Fingal Development Plan 2005-2011 states that an area of land 200 metres in radius around a school premises should be kept free from the erection of phone masts.

“However, Fingal County Council has told me that this is only valid if the mast requires planning permission,” explained Dr Mulholland.

“Those of the type on Pinewood House do not require planning permission but a mobile mast is a mobile mast regardless.

“They still give out microwave radiation, which nobody will confirm is safe or not for children to be exposed to. In the meantime, no one seems to want to take precautions to protect our children.”

Local Socialist Party TD, Joe Higgins, who joined the residents at the protest last week, said it was outrageous that parents have been obliged to take such steps.

“Such transmitters should not be sited near schools, full stop,” he said. “There are very serious unanswered questions about their health effects, especially on children.”

“The Government carries a responsibility here also for allowing these masts to go up as exempted developments. This is incredible.”

However, a spokeswoman for mobile phone company Vodafone told Northside People that the health and safety of the public, Vodafone customers, employees and contractors is of paramount importance to the company.

“Vodafone ensures that mobile phones and their base stations are designed and operated so that people are not exposed above radio frequency exposure guidelines set by international and national bodies such as the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection ,” she said.
“The guidelines are there to protect all members of the public 24 hours a day.”

The spokeswoman said that expert scientific reviews conclude that it is unlikely that there are adverse health effects linked to the use of mobile phones or living or working near radio base stations when they are operated within the relevant guideline limits.

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