Cloonlyon residents protest against proposed mast

by Brenda Carney

Residents from Cloonlyon held a demonstration outside the offices of Galway County Council on Monday in protest against a proposal to build an 02 phone mast in the area.

Residents from Ballygar say the visual impact of the 36-metre phone mast will be incredible.

Cloonlyon resident Majella Grogan said the mast would be 210 metres from her back door. British guidelines stipulated that a phone mast should be at least 500 metres away from a dwelling, she claimed.

"It's too near our house and it's too big," said Ms Grogan. "No conclusive research by an independent body has gone into looking at the effects of having a phone mast so close by. Any studies done before have been funded by telecommunications companies," she claimed.

However, a spokesperson for 02 said that 02 endeavoured to minimise the environmental impact and visibility of its mobile infrastructures. 02 also complied with all Irish and EU health and safety legislation and all relevant industry health and safety standards. Health and safety issues were of prime importance to 02 Ireland, which was conscious of its responsibility to customers and the general public, they said.

02 Ireland said its nationwide network of base stations "adhere to the strictest of standards set by the International Commission for Non-ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and supported by the World Health Organisation.

"The communications regulator, ComReg, also audits 02 base stations to ensure full compliance with international standards and guidelines. Independent analysis from ComReg has shown that 02 sites operate thousands of times below safety standards set by the ICNIRP."

Omega read "Base Stations, operating within strict national and international Guidelines, do not present a Health Risk?" under: and
"Competing interests, conflicts of interest: Who's funding WHO?"under:

Galway County Councillor Tom Reilly gave his full backing to the protestors, saying he fully supported the plight to have the mast relocated. He called on Galway County Council not to grant permission on the basis of the submissions made by the Cloonlyon group.

"02 should think seriously about health not money. There is a serious visual impact on this community," said the councillor.

A petition with over 850 signatures was handed into the council and a decision is expected to be made in relation to either granting or refusing permission to 02 in the coming weeks.


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