Phone mast protesters target Ahern

South Dublin residents who yesterday successfully prevented a phone company from erecting a mast on Dalkey Garda station will…

South Dublin residents who yesterday successfully prevented a phone company from erecting a mast on Dalkey Garda station will this afternoon picket Taoiseach Bertie Ahern when he launches a local summer project.

Under an agreement between telecoms companies and the Office of Public Works (OPW) the erection of mobile phone masts on Garda stations is exempt from the planning process. Members of the Dalkey Community Against Radiation group claim they only found out about the plans to locate a new generation 3G phone mast on their local Garda station, by word of mouth yesterday.

Vilicom, the company employed to manage the work was attempting to replace an existing mast on Dalkey Garda station, when locals placed one of their own cars across the station driveway preventing access.

An existing, smaller mast on the station already provides services for the standard GSM mobile phone service providers.


The residents were supported in their action by community groups in Shankill who are opposing plans to extend the mast over the Garda station there, again to incorporate 3G services.

Residents in Dalkey said they will again block access to the phone company this morning and take part in a dignified protest when Mr Ahern opens a local summer school at Hyde Park, a local sports club.

Speaking to The Irish Times yesterday, Oliver McCabe of Dalkey Community Against Radiation, said the intention of this afternoon's protest was not to disturb the launch of the summer school, but to "peacefully make the Taoiseach aware" that the 3G masts were an issue. Mr McCabe said the new mast "will initially triple the size of the current mast by increasing the number of antennae from two to six, with, it is believed, an eventual total of 12 antennae planned.

The proposed site is in the middle of a densely populated area and close to six national and private schools. Residents were "not consulted".

He added that the residents wanted the mobile phone companies to agree to site the mast on "a safe site well away from houses, schools, playgrounds and care facilities".

In Shankill three protest marches have already been held against the work, with crowd numbers estimated as high as 2,000.

Some 2,500 letters have been sent to the three Government TDs for the constituency, Dún Laoghaire.

Shankill residents also had a meeting with Minister of State Tom Parlon in March, but they claim they have not had a commitment that the masts will be sited elsewhere.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist