Residents in Knocknagoshel are celebrating after plans to erect a 15m high telecommunications mast in their village was turned down by Kerry County Council.
The small village of Knocknagoshel is rejoicing after what it claims is a ‘big victory’ following Kerry County Council’s (KCC) decision to refuse planning to Eir for a 15m high monopole mast in its village.
It’s the third occasion that a request for permission has been denied, and the natives feel protests and community solidarity helped play a significant role in swaying the council’s decision.
A show of unity by over 50 people representing the concerns of residents, the local school and business have opposed the mast plans for over three years. They cited the proximity of the mast to village life as a threat to public health as the primary concern.
KCC’s decision was made known on Wednesday morning and was immediately met with a rapturous response by the residents.
The Council said the proposed development is located within the settlement boundary of the village and is ‘immediately adjacent’ to residential properties. KCC felt the development would be ‘highly obtrusive’.
“This is a big victory for our cause, our village, and rural Ireland. We’re honest people. We want broadband but putting this thing in the middle of our village was a non-runner,” said protest organiser, Michelle Keane.
She thanked Kerry County Council for being ‘very respectful’ of their campaign as residents submitted numerous objections stating that a mast was not wanted in the village.
"The people’s republic of Knocknagoshel have spoken and their voices have been heard and respected by the council,” Michelle added.
Liz Lane, Principal of Loughfouder National School, said she is ‘delighted’ that the health and safety of residents, staff and children at the school will be better protected by the decision.
“This is a proud community. This mast would have been an eyesore in the middle of the village,” said Ms Lane.
Resident Johnny Morrissey, who lives approximately 10 metres from where the mast would have been erected, also expressed his delight at the decision.
“I’m over the moon with this. Not to grant planning permission for a third time in the interest of public well-being and safety is important to us,” he said.
"I have to say a huge thank you to Michelle [Keane] for organising the protest and notifying everyone in the parish. Without her vision this mast could have gone up overnight, where would we be then?” Mr Morrissey added.
Local postman John O’Connor explained that through his work meeting people around the parish he was able to gauge the wider opinion. He found ‘total resistance’ to the idea of a mast in the village.
“The consensus in this locality is that people were not against having the mast in the area. They just wanted it out of the village and move it somewhere in the countryside, or on higher ground,” he said.
In a final nod to the village’s famous historic banner, ‘Arise Knocknagoshel, and Take Your Place Among the Nations of the Earth’ - which dates to 1891 when the residents of Knocknagoshel marched to a rally in support of Charles Stewart Parnell – Ms Keane said:
“Charles Stuart Parnell is truly smiling down in spirit on us all from Heaven in our victory. The great people of Knocknagoshel came out in mighty force to object to this Eir mast. A million thanks to everyone.”
It’s not clear if Eir will appeal the decision to An Bord Pleanála. Residents say they will continue to oppose the plans.