Wexford People

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Vodafone's Forth Mountain mast plans concern public

CONCERNS HAVE BEEN raised about a proposed 42-metre mobile phone mast on Forth Mountain.

Vodafone Ireland has applied to Wexford County Council for permission to erect the mast, saying it will ' allow continuance and improvement of Vodafone's existing GSM and 3G telecommunications network'.

While there are already a cluster of masts on Forth Mountain, this would be on an isolated site about 250 metres west of the cluster, a point that has been raised by local resident Pat Kavanagh.

'This would be the highest mast on the north west face of Forth Mountain and could lead to further masts being located in the same visually exposed area,' said Mr Kavanagh of Shelmalier Commons.

Mr Kavanagh has also questioned the transparency of the application and suggested that Vodafone may have been trying to 'slip it under the radar', by putting their application in the Irish Independent and the planning site notice 'on a slip of timber without hard backing, low down in the ditch. While most people recognise the need for upgraded telecommunications facilities, they would insist that they would be informed/consulted and that any development would meet the requirements of planning law,' said Mr Kavanagh, who is urging people to object to the application before the deadline of Thursday, October 6.

Wexford County Council has already received a submission from TowerCom Ltd, who are objecting to the mast.

The Dublin-based company said it already has two masts on Forth Mountain, one 43 metres in height and the other 20 metres, in the existing cluster of masts and that these ' high capacity structures' have been providing support to telecommunications operators, including Vodafone, for the past 10 years.

TowerCom said the existing masts can provide everything that Vodafone require and called the application for a new mast on Forth Mountain 'an unnecessary duplication of infrastructure'.

A further objection has been received from Bridgetown resident, Margaret Cousins, based on allegations about the impact of such masts on her health.