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Kilmaine village says no to proposed mast


Ger Flanagan

THE proposed site for a large telecommunications mast on the outskirts of Kilmaine is unsuitable according to a local councillor, who has called on Mayo County Council to consider the ‘serious concerns’ of the residents when considering the application.
Cllr Damien Ryan (FF) attended a public meeting in Kilmaine last week where a large number of local residents and businesspeople expressed their intentions to object to the plans of the 24-metre high tower.
Speaking to The Mayo News, Cllr Ryan says an alternative site must be sought as the proposed one is not suitable.
“There’s a lot of concern about the proposed tower and the concern of the residents has to be taken into consideration,” he said. “There’s road issues – it’s very close to a public road – and there are a number of people in close proximity that are directly impacted, and they have to be supported.
“I’m always aware that infrastructure is needed and there’s probably never such a thing as a 100 percent ideal site, but there’s definitely a lot better sites to be looked at in that regard.
“I’ll be making the local authority aware of the serious concerns of the locals and that they have to be taken into consideration when the local authority makes their decision.”
The planning application has been lodged to Mayo County Council by Cignal Infrastructure Ltd, who are seeking permission to construct a 24-metre high multi-user lattice telecommunications structure at Cregduff on the Galway Road in Kilmaine. Included also is antenna, a new access track, together with associated ground equipment cabinets and associated site works.

‘Insufficiently developed’
In their covering letter, the Dublin based firm state that ‘this area of the county is insufficiently developed in terms of telecoms infrastructure’ and that their proposed application will provide ‘progressive services’ to the area, whilst also minimising the visual impact.
However, local resident Joyce Fitzpatrick, whose home is situated approximately 100 metres from the proposed site, highlights that the general feeling in the area is that the mast is not needed.
“The village is not against progress and we know progress has to happen, but having a mast of that size is not suitable,” she told The Mayo News. “I’ve talked to most of the businesses around the village and they are all saying there is no issue with mobile phone coverage or broadband. This will destroy the village and all the good work done by the Kilmaine Village Enhancement Group.”
Fitzpatrick, who has been tirelessly lobbying against the proposal, admitted that the stress of the situation has impacted her personal life too.
“We have a family business, four small kids that are all playing soccer and football and I have a chronic illness and this has not helped,” she highlighted. “If this goes ahead it will bring down the value of our house and the land surrounding the mast.
“And the stress of all this has not been good for me personally, but I have to take this on and I’m backing the consensus of the village 100 percent.”
Local businessman Eugene McCormack echoed those concerns.
“This would be a terrible eyesore and contradict the work of the village enhancement and the planning application,” he told The Mayo News. “We don’t feel there’s need for this because we have good broadband and phone coverage. This is a not countryside area. The minute you step outside your front door you will be looking at this mast and it will be an eye sore for years to come.”
A number of the locals were due to meet with representatives from Cignal Infrastructure Ltd at the proposed site last night (Monday).