New 5G mobile technology will not be rolled out in Wexford until the the County Council receive assurances it is safe and doesn't come with health risks.
Following a motion tabled by Sinn Féin Councillor Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin, in which he asked the Council to both 'stop the licensing of this roll out with immediate effect' and 'call on the Minister for Communications, Climate Change and the Environment to establish the facts about the radiation impact of 5G technology', a discussion concerning the implications of allowing 5G into the county ensued.
'I know there's advantages to 5G, you can download a high-definition film in seconds rather than minutes, and have nappies which can tell the mother when the baby is wet, but at what price will these advantages come?' asked Cllr Ó Suilleabháin.
'There isn't one report available which guarantees the safety of this. The Minister has said he's leaving it up to the government and the private suppliers to make the call on this. But the data they're using is from 1998, brick phones and 2G, which is completely different from today.'
Councillor Mary Farrell, who has repeatedly warned of the dangers of 5G, reminded those in attendance that this technology had been prevented from rolling out in cities and countries across Europe and suggested the issue be returned to the Environmental Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) for further consideration.
However, Fine Gael Councillor Diarmuid Devereux offered an opposing view, reminding those in attendance of the business opportunites associated with 5G.
'Every one of us here is representing thousands of constituents in rural Wexford, this will be their only chance to get high speed connectivity, to run their business and to run their farms. The smart tech people want to ban is the kind of service Cllr Carthy and his colleagues use to try to access people within the health service.'
'This is non-ionising radiation,' Cllr Devereux continued. 'I would rather stand beside one of those antennas five days a week than have one x-ray. We've thousands of houses in this country where people haven't bothered to check their houses for radon, which is a far greater killer of human beings than electro-radiation.'
Following Cllr John Hegarty's assertion that an issue of this depth 'required proper research' it was decided to support Cllr Farrell's motion to return the issue to the SPC for further investigation.