Carrying placards that asked the local authority to protect its people, the protesters said they were deeply concerned about the continuing operation of the Meteor mobile phone mast at New Square, Mitchelstown.
While health concerns were their major priority, the protesters added that many of them had been unable to receive RTÉ TV signals since the mast became operational at the end of last January. The mast is placed on Mrs Quinn’s charity shop.
Sheila Corbett, a mother of three young girls, said was fearful for her children’s health. One of her girls held a placard which stated she couldn’t see Dora or Barney because of Meteor.
“My grandmother lives in the area. She’s terribly worried about her health and she also has no TV reception,” said Diarmuid Mullins.
Deputy Ned O’Keeffe, who attended the protest, said: “I’m here objecting to this illegal mast on health and safety grounds.”
Standing orders were suspended to discuss the issue.
Cllrs Kevin O’Keeffe and Frank O’Flynn pointed out that on June 5 council officials decided that the mast needed planning permission and issued an enforcement order. Meteor, in the meantime, has applied for retention, but it was stated yesterday that this application isn’t valid.
Cllr Liam O’Doherty said the matter was a serious issue. “It’s a basic right for people to sit back in their own house and watch television. They [Meteor] could take this to An Bord Pleanála and that could take 12 to 15 months. The least residents can expect it to have the mast turned off,” said Mr O’Doherty.
Meanwhile, Cllr Danny Crowley raised a similar problem near Bantry, which he said was going on for the past two years.
County manager Martin Riordan said officials were preparing to take Meteor to court because it hadn’t complied with the enforcement order issued in Mitchelstown.