Article from the Mar. 2005 issue of the Socialist
newspaper of the Socialist Party, Irish section of the CWI
Baldoyle Community action removes phone mast
by Brian Greene
A CAMPAIGN of people power in Baldoyle over the past months has forced Fingal County Council (FCC) to rule on an exempt mobile phone installation on the roof of the local football club.
Baldoyle Against Radiation, which is chaired by local Socialist Party rep. Brian Greene, said "This is a win-win situation for the community of Baldoyle. The mast beside the school is to be removed and the primary school's future is secured. We have always argued that the 2001 regulations that allow public buildings to be used as mobile phone masts was a disgraceful gift to mobile phone companies from the then Environment Minister Noel Dempsey."
We lodged a planning reference to FCC claiming that the building was private and not public and therefore should not have been given exempt status under the planning regulations. FCC ruled last week that the building is in fact a private building and the telecommunications installation is an unauthorised development.
Street level pressure from the residents made all groups concerned sit up and listen two weeks ago, when we forced H3G off the site with a 10 day, 24 hour blockade and vigil.
"Now that the masts are to be removed the community of Baldoyle must support its football club. Our fight with the phone company isn't over. We are campaigning for the sensible sighting of masts in our area. H3G still require coverage in our area, and we are seeking consultation for communities prior to mandatory planning for all masts new and existing."
Fingal County Planners must take responsibility for their previous decisions regarding this installation. If the club house is private, how was it ever selected as an exempt building? Public buildings across Dublin have been chosen to site masts inside exclusion zones close to schools and homes. Government action is required to develop the precautionary approach to all installations of phone masts.
Our campaign of people power resulted in this removal. Communities must be vigilant and planners and government must listen to the wishes of local residents about site selection for future phone masts.
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