A sign erected in the village of Ballintubber opposing the proposed 25-metre mast by Vodafone.

Ballintubber community says no to mast

Members of Ballintubber Community Group have said they will do whatever it takes to stop Vodafone Ireland from getting planning permission to erect a 25-metre mast on a site at Creevagh in the village.

The local community is up in arms at the proposed development by Vodafone Ireland to erect the telecommunications tower in the middle of their village beside a number of family homes.

The proposed structure, as described in the planning application, is to replace an existing 10-metre wooden pole carrying one single antenna with a 25-metre lattice structure that will carry new antenna, dishes and associated equipment.

It is essentially three times as high and multiple times wider than the existing structure.

Local residents have expressed huge concerns over the visual impact on the area, its proximity to people's homes, Ballintubber Abbey and the N84 and the impact on wildlife in the area, in particular the fact it is in the flight area of herons that nest there annually.

Local resident and parent Maria Staunton-Murray commented: "The proposed structure is right beside our home, just 50 meters from our front door.

"I have two young girls and this is our forever home, we are just devastated to think a structure like this would be built so close to us.

"I can't see how this could be deemed safe or be allowed so close to so many people's homes."

Image showing the close proximity of the proposed mast to dwellings.

A statement issued by Ballintubber Community Group outlined: "A structure of this nature should only be erected in a village as a last resort where necessary and it should be kept to a minimum height for effective operation; this is outlined in the planning guidelines.

"The reason given by Vodafone Ireland in their planning application is that the mast is required to support a new operator, Eir mobile, as there is no space on the existing pole and it is not high enough for their requirements.

"This cannot be considered by any reasonable standard to be necessary or essential.

"It is safe to say that the people of the area can live without a mobile service from Eir mobile and have been doing just fine up until now.

"The manner in which the planning has been sought has also upset people. The site notice was erected in the run up to Christmas and in the middle of Covid restrictions at a time when very few people would have noticed its erection.

"Thankfully one resident who was out walking in the area noticed the sign in time to alert local people so they could lodge their objections."

Local man David Staunton, who has lived in the village all his life, described the proposal as unacceptable.

He stated: "The people of Ballintubber will not tolerate this.

"Where they want to put the mast is 50 meters from my house and right beside my fathers old mill which has been in the family for generations, we won't stand for this."

Local woman Suellen McKenna said: "The entire community has come together to fight this and stand up for each other.

"We have set up a Facebook page, Whatsapp group, twitter and petition to gain as much support as we can and the positive response has been amazing. We will do whatever it takes to stop this."

Senator Lisa Chambers issued a statement earlier this week calling on Vodafone to withdrawn the application.

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