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MEP supports phone and broadband mast concerns

13 January, 2005

Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has lent her support to residents and parents concerned about mobile phone and broadband masts erected at sites that may pose health risks to children.

Residents in Baldoyle, Dublin are protesting at the presence of a broadband mast on the top of Baldoyle United Foot ball Club which is adjacent to the local school. The mast appeared on top of football club‚s building last year and follows legislation in 2001, which did away with necessity for planning permission in relation to phone and broadband masts as long as they are erected on "public buildings".

Sinn Fein Dublin City Councillor Larry O‚Toole who is supporting the Baldoyle residents who want the mast removed said: "This mast is smack bang next to a primary school. In light of the publication of findings only this week, which shows that children are at risk when exposed to mobile phones this, is not acceptable. This mast has got to be removed and removed immediately.

"There is also an issue about what actually constitutes a public building in relation to the legislation around these masts. Most reasonable people would have interpreted this as meaning Garda stations and the like, not necessarily football or youth clubs which may have a large degree of young people present, and certainly not so close to a school."

"Only yesterday, we seen a report in Britain which shows that youngsters are at greatest risk from the potentially damaging health effects of mobile phone emissions. One scientist leading the investigation even said that children aged eight and under should not use handsets at all. Kids are at higher risk from radiation because their nervous system is still developing, they absorb more energy though their head and are likely to be exposed to emissions for more years. This has heightened the concerns of parents such as those of the children in Baldoyle who are exposed at school to the effects of the broadband mast. Those concerns need to be addressed."

Mary Lou McDonald, who has been contacted by parents and residents concerned about the siting of masts, has said that the location of all such phone and broadband masts should be reviewed in light of the latest scientific findings and that if necessary the legislation should be tightened up. ENDS

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