Kerry County Council has decided, by a narrow vote, to lift a ban on the erection of telecommunications masts within 1km of residential buildings, including homes, schools, and hospitals.
Following a lengthy debate at yesterday’s meeting on a new county development plan, the policy was changed on a 17-15 vote.
Both council chairman John Brassil (FF) and chief executive Moira Murrell recommended the abolition.
Proposing the removal of the 1km rule, Cllr Niall Kelleher (FF) claimed that mobile phone companies had warned that the rule was preventing them from providing a better service.
“Companies won’t come here unless we have first class broadband in areas where they wish to locate,” he said.
Cllr Johnny Healy-Rae (Ind), seeking a retention, said that of the 62 planning applications which had been refused under the rule by the council, 56 were granted on appeal to An Bord Pleanála.
He said it was incorrect to argue a lack of proper telecommunications was due to the rule. “This issue is not about planning —it’s about a lack of will and a lack of money.”
Mr Brassil said the 1km rule had been sending out the wrong message.
“We’re continuously looking for better broadband services and I think we would be giving a better service on all fronts by removing this rule,” he added.
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