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New Garda radio system blocks TV reception

6 January, 2010 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Cavan/Monaghan TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has demanded action from the Minister for Communications Eamon Ryan and the Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern on a new Garda digital radio system which is blocking TV reception for thousands of householders in the Border region.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“I have been contacted by people throughout my constituency who have lost their TV reception since before Christmas as a result of the installation of the new TETRA digital mobile radio system in Garda stations. That the new system has caused this widespread disruption to households is confirmed by the Commission for Communication Regulation (COMREG) which has issued a public information bulletin on the matter.

“There is anger and exasperation at this development which came without any warning. To add insult to injury the COMREG bulletin places the onus on householders to rectify the problem themselves with technical adjustments to their TV reception equipment which can cost up to €250 to purchase and install.

“There is no argument about the need for an efficient and secure communications system for the Garda Síochána. The issue is the high-handed approach of those responsible for its introduction with no consideration for its effect on the thousands of households in the vicinity of Garda stations and other sites where TETRA base stations are installed.

“I am advised, though this is unconfirmed, that such was the disruption caused in the town of Emyvale, Co. Monaghan, over Christmas that Gardaí at the local station turned off the TETRA system so that people’s TV reception would be restored. Obviously that is no long-term solution.

“I have written to both the Minister for Communications Eamon Ryan and the Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern urging that this matter be addressed. They need to explain if the problem was anticipated when the TETRA system was in the planning stage and why steps were not taken to avoid disruption to householders. Measures must now be put in place to either address the problem at source by means of a technical adjustment to the TETRA system, if possible, or to assist householders to meet the cost of the purchase and installation of the special filters required to restore their TV reception.” ENDS

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