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Controversial mast ­development gets go-ahead

CLARE County Council has granted planning permission for a 30-metre communications mast on the grounds of St Senan’s Rugby Club. Objections had been made to the development and residents living nearby claimed it was completely unsuitable.

The planner’s report on the application claimed that the development would provide a major improvement to communications in Shannon.
“The applicant has stated that the proposed mast will provide indoor wireless broadband coverage to the southern area of Shannon and the surrounding residential and retail areas. The applicant has submitted a coverage map indicating the areas in which the 2MB indoor broadband coverage will serve. I consider that the proposed mast will make a contribution to the provision of telecommunication services in the area.”
The report also stated that opportunities for co-location have already been maximised. “The applicant has stated that opportunity for co-location has been examined. In this regard, existing masts at Shannon Garda Station and SkyCourt Shopping Centre were examined.
However, both were found not to be suitable. The applicant also examined the potential of locating the mast at Wolfe Tones GAA pitch. However, the report, which accompanies the subject application, states, “The GAA pitch is 75 metres from St Connaire’s National School. Locations near schools are only considered by Meteor as a last resort and so St Senan’s RFC is the preferred option as it is located away from all local schools.”
It also stated that the development would not have a negative impact on the residential amenities of the area. “The department guidelines Telecommunciation Antennae and Support Structures Guidelines (Telecommunication Antennae and Support Structures Guidelines for Planning Authorities) quotes the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection, which has stated that there is no substantive evidence that adverse health effects, including cancer, can occur in people exposed to levels of non-ionising radiation at or below International Radiation Protection Association 1988 Guidelines. Having regard to the Department of the Environment guidelines, I do not consider that the proposed development will impact on the residential amenities, in particular, having regard to the health concerns raised by the objectors.”
It was also claimed that local visual amenities would not be damaged. “From a visual amenities perspective, I consider the proposed development acceptable. It will be partially screened from view by reason of the existing trees in the vicinity. The monopole and associated substation and palisade fencing shall be green in colour.”
Gleann an Óir Residents’ Association had objected to the mast and Town Councillor Michael Fleming lives in the estate. He wasn’t pleased with the county council’s decision.
“It’s very, very disappointing. The place is just not suitable for it and I don’t know how the planners think that it is. None of the objections must have been looked at. As I’ve said before, land beside it is zoned for 1,000 houses but it still got planning permission.”
Mr Fleming said he was still unsure if there would be an appeal made to An Bord Pleanála.


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