A local community in Enniscrone says it will fight plans to construct a 5G telecommunications mast at an ESB substation in the seaside village, citing health concerns.
The proposed mast would be just metres from a residential area and also in close proximity to five housing estates, a creche and a nursing home.
Locals say they feel deceived by the way in which the planning notice was advertised, with it being publicised in a national newspaper the same day as the local elections were held.
People are also taking issue with where the public planning notice was put on the site and people have grave concerns about the health implications of living so close to a 5G mast.
Planning for the mast has been granted by Sligo County Council but locals say this is far from being the end of the matter and they have vowed to fight the decision all the way. They are currently planning to hold public meetings on the issue and begin working on an appeal.
Enniscrone is absolutely defiant against the construction of a planned 66 foot 5G mast which was recently granted planning permission by Sligo County Council.
Residents of the West Sligo seaside town are angered at the granting of the mast five metres from a public road at Frankford, and in close proximity to five housing estates, a creche and a nursing home.
Eamonn O’Malley who lives directly across the road from the ESB station and proposed site of the mast told The Sligo Champion that the community feel planning was ‘pushed in upon us in a deceitful way’.
“There are no studies supported to say this is safe, Brussels and Geneva have already stopped the roll out of 5G technology because they’ve no proof to say that it’s safe.”
5G is the “fifth generation” cellular network technology. It is faster, connecting billions of devices wirelessly, from the eventual self-driving car to all home smart devices. It can do this due to speeds up to 20 times faster than 4G.
Mr O’Malley said there is growing concern across the country surrounding the health implications of having a 5G mast and 5G technology, with Kerry County Council having passed a motion to look into it in greater detail before it is rolled out.
He said the community do not want to be sitting underneath something that could potentially be harmful for their health.
“We’re not willing to accept this. ESB networks are going to be hiring out this mast to multinational telecom internationals for their 5G networks. Enniscrone is completely opposed to this.”
The community are planning on holding a public meeting and protests in future, along with enlisting the help of a planning consultant and solicitor in order to look into how to make an appeal to An Bord Pleanála.
“It’ll be 20 years down the line when we see what being exposed to this 24 hours a day what will happen.”
For Leanne Tuffy, her dreams of building the perfect house on her father’s land in the area have now descended into concern.
Leanne and her husband wanted to initially build up from the current ESB power station to be away from overhead lines, however, planning was refused.
Ms Tuffy asked why there is different rules for ESB Networks in relation to the advertising of the sign when a local supermarket’s planning was invalidated due to the way it advertised a planned extension.
“If there was no objection in then there should have been questions asked about the signage, because it was in a really densely populated area.”
The first Leanne heard of the planning application for the mast was when it had already been approved.
“The sign was totally invisible, there’s lots of activity up on the site and the gate is always open, it should have been away from all the caution signs, that would have made sense and would have caused people to take notice.” Leanne said there is a feeling of ‘disbelief ’ that nobody found out about the planning before it was granted and said the mast’s visual impact is not the big problem, but the fear of the unknown in terms of health implications.
“We feel like we could be guinea pigs. There’s so many young families around there and nobody has told us about the radiation it could give off. Anything I read about it now doesn’t make me feel very comfortable about it.”
Local Councillor Joe Queenan also voiced his disdain.
“I’m disappointed with the construction of it on the ESB property in the middle of housing estates. The way the ESB went about it is disappointing. They advertised it in the Irish Independent on the day of the election and the sign they put on the gate is very small and it rotates.”
He added, “People didn’t realise this application was live at all until the decision was made that’s why the anger is.”
Queenen too cited health risks being a huge issue for people.
“The health risks are a big issue regarding local residents living close to it and they’ve every reason to have concerns. People are annoyed and disappointed by the way it was being done.”
Queenen and colleague Councillor Michael Clarke are putting a motion down about the planning at next week’s Municipal District Meeting. “The whole construction of this is very close to the public road. If anyone was building a house it wouldn’t get that close to the road.”
Queenen also questioned the logistics of the mast being built on the current site. “It’s also being built where the ESB have a substation so I question how they’re going to be able to work the sub station and this big antenna in the middle of it. There are a lot of issues about the whole application and the way it’s being done. The anger from people is very very strong.
“I think the ESB should have consulted with the people locally, it’s a big development and the ESB pride themselves with being involved in the community and they weren’t on this occasion.”
Asked if people felt it was done in an underhanded manner, Queenen said, ‘absolutely’. “The advertising was on the day of a local election, it was validated four days later, it was granted seven weeks later. I’m very annoyed and disappointed.”
He concluded, “I’ll be fighting this tooth and nail. The most frustrating thing is nobody spotted the application and it was granted before we could do anything about it.”