The controversial extension of a mobile telocommunications mast in the middle of Granard three years ago has once again surfaced after a meeting of Granard Town Council was told that up to ten families in the area have been affected by cancer.
The issue was debated at a meeting of the local authority last Tuesday evening when members discussed the number of health issues affecting residents from the town’s Denniston Park area. Cllr Eddie Kelly said the matter was so serious, he called for correspondence to be sent to government leaders and local TDs as a matter of urgency.
The Independent representative also pointed the finger at a decision, taken in 2009 to extend an existing 18 metre high structure by a further six metres to improve Garda communication channels. “The Minister for Justice allowed that to go on,” he said of former minister, Dermot Ahern. “I would like them (government) to come down and see the affect it has had because it’s a disgrace.”
In 2009, the Leader reported extensively on how locals had submitted a petition charting the names of around 200 people against the proposed extension plans. Ultimately, those appeals fell on deaf ears despite residents and local politicians holding lengthy talks with both gardai and the mast’s applicants, Tetra Ireland Communications Ltd. Cllr PJ Reilly said he was one of those who attended a meeting with representatives of the Dublin based firm at the time where any long term health fears linked to the mast were roundly dismissed. “I was there and it was pointed out that there was no risk and no proof (about alleged cancer risks),” he said.
The Fianna Fail member said even though there had been a change of government in the meantime, the responsibility was one that still commanded swift and immediate action. Cllr Tommy Stokes asked for the council’s executive to write to Minister for Justice Alan Shatter.
Letters will also be sent to Minister for Health James Reilly, Environment Minister Phil Hogan and all four of Longford-Westmeath’s sitting TDs. The Leader also contacted Tetra Ireland, but at the time of going to press yesterday (Tuesday) no official statement was formally released.