Mast Antiprotests at Cork University Hospital and in Co. Meath, Ireland

I am sending you along newspaper reports of recent anti-mast protests that have taken place in the eastern and southern parts of Ireland. Both were well-supported by local leaders, medical specialists and significant politicians. In the Cork University Hospital anti-mast protest below, an IDEA (Irish Doctors Environmental Association) doctor and a prominent Green Party T.D. (Irish Member of Parliament) carried protest placards alongside us. The protest also had the full support of the Co. Cork MEP (Independent), Kathy Sinnott.

Imelda O'Connor

IRISH EXAMINER, SATURDAY 15.10.2005 "Local News" section, Page 8



The location of mobile phone masts on the roof of Cork University Hospital contradicts Government policies, a prominent doctor claimed yesterday. Dr Sean Dunphy of the Irish Doctors Environmental Association was speaking as more than 30 protestors campaigned for the removal of Vodafone and O2 masts from the hospital's roof. "We presented a report to the Oireachtas Committee on this issue," said Dr Dunphy. "They decided that while possible health side-effects of the mast emissions were unknown, a precautionary stance should be taken with regards to their location. "With this in mind, to place masts on the roof of the hospital is risky to say the least. They shouldn't be located anywhere near hospitals, schools or playgrounds." He added that the hospital could face compensation claims in the future if the masts are not removed. "In Holland, current views suggest that masts should not be located within 300 metres of populated areas," he said. "It can take time for the side effects to show, so there could be a number of compensation claims made in years to come." Yesterday's protest was undertaken by the Better Environment and Safer Telecommunications group. Spokesman John Cummins said while the group were not anti-mobile phone, they felt the location of masts was a serious issue. "We aren't against mobile phone masts, but we think they should be located in more suitable areas," he said. "We put together a questionnaire for the public coming in and out of the hospitel, and 30 out of 30 people said they agreed with us."


[by] Olivia Kelleher

Protesters at Cork University Hospital have demanded the removal of O2 and Vodafone phone mast equipment attached to the building, citing their concern for the health and safety of people in the area.

John Cummins of Better Environment and Safer Telecommunications said yesterday it was highly irresponsible for a hospital to facilitate mobile phone operators by allowing antennae to be situated on its building.

He said the hospital should follow the example of Sligo General Hospital where recent proposals for phone masts were rejected by management, forcing Vodafone to withdraw its application for permission. Proposals for a mast had been strongly opposed by the Irish Nurses' Organisation, hospital staff and Siptu.

Mr Cummins said a recent report from the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Marine and Natural Resources had called for a ban on phone masts near sensitive areas. These were deemed to be in particular hospitals, schools, health centres, creches and playgrounds.

About 20 protesters, including Cork Green Party TD Dan Boyle, took part in the demonstration.

A spokesman for the Health Service Executive Southern Area said the antennae served a variety of purposes including the forging of a vital link between ambulance services in Cork University Hospital and St Mary's Orthopaedic Hospital. "There is also transmitting equipment used for links between CUH and St Finbarr's Hospital and between the hospital and the ambulance base at Kinsale Road."

Cork Green Party councillor Chris O'Leary, who attended the protest, said the issue of electrosensitivity was becoming increasingly common as more and more masts were erected. Electrosensitivity is a condition where people suffer headaches, nausea and muscle pains when exposed to electromagnetic fields from mobile phones, computer screens and electricity pylons.

Mr O'Leary said there were already nine masts in Mahon where he lived on the south side of Cork city. Residents in Mahon are lodging an opposing submission to a Vodafone Ireland application for a 52.35-metre telecommunications mast on the grounds of the National Software Centre.

© The Irish Times

Below is the protest letter sent to the General Manager of Cork University Hospital

B. E. S. T. (Better Environment and Safer Telecommunications)

Chairperson: John Cummins, Pearse Street, Cahir, Co. Tipperary. Tel: 052 41487

Secretary: Michael Ryan, Knockalough, Drombane, Thurles, Co. Tipperary. Tel: 0504 54347

P.R.O.: Pat O’Donovan, Newcastlewest, Co. Limerick.
Tel: 069 61851

Joint Treasurers: Rose Ryan, Daingean, Golden, Co. Tipperary.
Br. Anthony Keane, Glenstal Abbey, Murroe, Co. Limerick

13th October 2005

Mr. Tony McNamara General Manager Cork University Hospital Wilton Road Cork


Dear Mr. McNamara,

The B.E.S.T. Group and concerned citizens are staging a protest today, 14th October 2005, from approximately 1:00p.m. to 3:30p.m. outside the main entrance to Cork University Hospital where we will be appealing to the Management at the Hospital to remove antennae that supports the mobile phone network which is attached to the main building of the Hospital. It has been confirmed by Mr. Peter Dineen that this antennae is in the ownership of O2 Communications and Vodafone Ireland Ltd. For your perusal and information we are attaching a synopsis of the Groups aims and objectives.

We will now outline the various points which demonstrate how we have come together today to make this emphatic appeal to the Cork University Hospital’s Management to remove the said antennae without delay.

1. The Mobile Phone Network and associated technologies are very recent phenomena in Ireland with the network gaining momentum in the past five years. Mobile Phone Base Stations, in particular, have come under a great deal of scrutiny particularly in the past five years at an international level through various work programmes and studies which have been carried out by reputable doctors of science and medicine, particularly in countries where the technology has been active for over seven or more years. These studies have focused on whether or not emissions from mobile phone base stations/antennae can cause adverse health effects among the general population at levels below those recommended internationally, specifically by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). All of these studies have one common factor – not one body of work has concluded that Emissions from Antennae which support the Mobile Telephone Network are completely without harm to human health and well-being. Indeed results from many of these studies clearly show adverse health effects among those residing and working in close proximity to base stations with symptoms of ill-health being experienced such as chronic headaches, nausea, fatigue, nosebleeds, sleep disturbance, hearing problems, loss of memory and concentration, weakened immune system and skin disorders with more sinister findings of diseases such as cancer, with cancer clusters appearing in areas surrounding base stations that are in place in that particular area for over five years. I am attaching a list of some of these studies for your perusal and further investigation. I would also like to highlight Study No. 6 on this list, The REFLEX Study, which was an EU funded cross country collaboration where twelve institutes in seven countries all reported the same findings. The aim of the study was to assess whether more time and finances should be spent on research into the possible adverse health effects of EMR exposure. The conclusion, as you can clearly see for yourself, was that it is clear that in-vitro damage is real and that it is important to carry out much more research into this area.

Indeed as far back as 2001, The International Agency for Cancer Research classified low frequency electromagnetic fields as a possible carcinogen to humans.

Indeed in Sweden, the issue of electromagnetic hypersensitivity has been addressed nationally, accepted as a physical impairment, and a scheme is in place to improve both home and working conditions for people who are electro- sensitive. The symptoms of electro-sensitivity are as outlined above, i.e. chronic headaches, fatigue, sleep disturbance/insomnia, skin rashes, sore eyes etc. There is a scheme also in place that allows people to register themselves as hypersensitive and many thousands of people have done so. In fact, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) in the UK under the Chair of Sir William Stewart is currently reviewing all scientific literature on electro-sensitivity and its report is due out in December.

This body of evidence should clearly indicate to all concerned the great need for precaution to be exercised when dealing with our new technology. Unfortunately, precaution has not been exercised by those responsible for granting permission for the placement of the said antennae on Cork University Hospital by O2 Communications and Vodafone Ireland Ltd.

2. The Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health and Children was questioned by a Minister within his Department regarding the possible effects of electromagnetic radiation on health. This is the Chief Medical Officer’s view on the matter:

“I have had the matter examined…….The research evidence that has been gathered over the last number of years indicates that uncertainties still exist about the potential impact of electromagnetic fields on human health. In such a situation, the precautionary principle should apply and the proposition that electromagnetic fields may have some possible effect on human health cannot be discounted into the future.”

(This is an excerpt of letter from Dr. Jim Kiely, Chief Medical Officer dated 7th April 2004 – a copy of this letter can be provided on request).

Indeed, the Environmental Health Unit at the Department of Health and Children has confirmed to our Group that Ireland does indeed adopt the precautionary principle in its dealings with the mobile telephone network and advises that this principle is exercised.

3. The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications Marine and Natural Resources included a review of phone masts and mobile phones as part of its work programme for 2005 and the Committee duly published its report in June 2005. Noel O’Flynn TD, Chairman of the Committee together with the other members of the Committee acknowledge people in Ireland who live and work in close proximity to phone masts and who are suffering ill-heath as a result. In Chairman O’Flynn’s own words it was with these people in mind that the Committee included a review of phone masts and mobile phones as part of its work programme for 2005. Among its fourteen recommendations the Committee has called for Planning Regulations, Guidelines and Exemptions to be reviewed immediately which will ensure that no equipment which emits Electromagnetic Radiation will be placed near hospitals, health centers, schools, playgrounds, pitches or near any locations where the most vulnerable in our communities would be exposed. Instrumental also to the Committee preparing and publishing its Report were submissions from the Irish Doctors Environmental Association which included its review on international data on ill-health effects from base stations together with its own findings from an epidemiological study it undertook on people living in close proximity to one or more base stations. The IDEA has carried out a great deal of research into this particular area and is gravely concerned by the lack of precaution being exercised in Ireland particularly in terms of where base stations/antennae are being situated. The IDEA fully supports the appeal we are making today to the Management at Cork University Hospital for the removal of the said antennae from its building. Also in support of our protest today is Kathy Sinnott MEP, to whom our Group has made a presentation recently.

4. Generally, it is accepted that one does not use a mobile phone in a hospital. Indeed your Hospital’s Mobile Phone policy clearly prohibits the use of mobile phones within the Hospital as they may interfere with sensitive hospital equipment for monitoring patient care. This would seem to be an excellent precautionary approach and supports the many field test studies such as those commissioned by the Medical Devices Agency (UK) which show that many types of hospital equipment are susceptible to RF radiation. In this light alone, we cannot therefore understand why permission was given for the placement of the said Antennae on the Hospital Building which said antennae support the mobile telephone network.

Recent proposals for phone mast antennae to be attached to the roof of Sligo General Hospital were rejected by the Hospital’s management which will now force Vodafone to withdraw its application for permission which it had submitted to Sligo Borough Council. This rejection followed strong opposition to the development from the INO, staff at the hospital and SIPTU. It is this type of precautionary approach that is needed with regard to telecommunications equipment especially where the young, old and sick, the vulnerable members in our community, are concerned.

Therefore, it does not seem prudent for Cork University Hospital, a Hospital with a 600 bed capacity and plans in place for a 200 bed capacity maternity unit and neo-natal facility to be supporting such technologies around which serious doubts continue to remain. Reasoned thinking would suggest that around such deficiencies and gaps in knowledge then the most vulnerable in our community i.e. children whose skulls are thinner, whose immune systems are still developing and the sick and elderly should not be unduly exposed to such emissions until they are proven to be 100% safe.

We are appealing to the Management of the Cork University Hospital to protect the interests of its patients and staff and take the necessary steps to remove the mobile phone antennae from its building without delay.

We look forward with great anticipation to your response to this letter and our appeal.

Yours faithfully,

John Cummins Chairperson On Behalf of the B.E.S.T. Group

c.c. Mary Harney T.D., Minister for Health and Children

Attached to the letter were these studies:


1. Study of the health of people living in the vicinity of mobile phone base Stations. Santini et al. (Pathologie Biologie (Paris) 2002; 50: 369 – 73)

Found significant health effects on people living within 300 metres of mobile phone base stations. Conclusions include this recommendation:

“….it is advisable that mobile phone base stations not be sited closer than 300 meters to populations…”

2. Study for the Netherlands Ministries of Economic Affairs, Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment, Health and Welfare and Sport. Carried out by Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research “Effects of Global Communications System Radio-Frequency Fields on Well Being and Cognitive Function of Human Subjects With and Without Subjective Complaints” (September 2003)

Found significant effects on well being, according to a number of internationally recognised criteria (including headaches, muscle fatigue/pain, dizziness etc.) from 3G mast emissions well below accepted ‘safety’ levels (less than 1/25,000th of ICNIRP Guidelines). Those who had previously been noted as ‘electro-sensitive’ under a scheme in that country were shown to have more pronounced ill-effects, though others were also shown to experience significant effects.

3. The Microwave Syndrome – Further Aspects of a Spanish Study
(1)Oberfeld Gerd, (2) Gomez-Perretta Claudio (2)Portoles Manuel, (3) Navarro A. Enrique, (4) Maestu Ceferino,

1) Public Health Department, Salzburg, Austria
2) University Hospital La Fe. Valencia, Spain
3) Department of Applied Physics, University Valencia, Spain
4) Foundation European Bioelectromagnetism (FEB) Madrid, Spain

Presented at an International Conference in Kos (Greece) 2004.

This study found significant ill-health effects in those living in the vicinity of 2 GSM mobile phone base stations. They observed the following:

“The strongest five associations found are depressive tendency, fatigue, sleeping disorder, difficulty in concentration and cardiovascular problems”.

As their conclusion the research team wrote:

“Based on the data of this study the advice would be to strive for levels not higher than 0.02 V/m for the sum total, which is equal to a power density of 0.0001 uW/cni2 or 1 uW/m2, which is the indoor exposure value for GSM base stations proposed on empirical evidence by the Public Health Office of the Government of Salzburg in 2002.”

4. Report on Incidence of cancer near a cell-phone transmitter station.

(1) Ronni Wolf MD, (2)Danny Wolf MD

(1) The Dermatology Unit, Kaplan Medical Centre, Rechovot and the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

(2) The Paediatric Outpatient Clinic, Hasharon Region, Kupat Holim, Israel

Published in the International Journal of Cancer Prevention Volume 1, No. 2 April 2004

This Study, based on medical records of people living within 350 metres of a long established phone mast, showed a fourfold increased incidence of cancer generally compared with the general population of Israel, and a tenfold increase specifically among women, compared with the surrounding locality further from the mast.

5. Naila Study, Germany (November 2004) Research for Report carried out by 5 medical doctors

Following the call from Wolfram Konig, President of the Bundesamt fuer Strahlenschutz (Federal Agency for Radiation Protection) to all doctors of medicine to collaborate actively in the assessment of the risk posed by cellular radiation, the aim of this study was to examine whether people living close to cellular transmitter antennae were exposed to a heightened risk of taking ill with malignant tumours.

The basis of the data used for the survey were PC files of the case histories of patients between the years 1994 and 2004. While adhering to data protection, the personal data of almost 1,000 patients were evaluated for this study, which was completed without any external financial support. It is intended to continue the project in the form of a register.

The result of the study shows that the proportion of newly developing cancer cases was significantly higher among those patients who had lived during the past ten years at a distance of up to 400 metres from the cellular transmitter site, which has been in operation since 1993, compared to those patients living further away, and that the patients fell ill on average 8 years earlier.

In the years 1999-2004, i.e. after five years’ operation of the transmitting installation, the relative risk of getting cancer had trebled for the residents of the area in the proximity of the installation compared to the inhabitants of Naila outside the area.

6. REFLEX STUDY (December 2004) The REFLEX Report is a EU funded cross country collaboration report looking into the effect of EMR and whether, or not, more money should be spent on research into the possible adverse health effects of EMR exposure.

Twelve institutes in seven countries have found genotoxic effects and modified expressions on numerous genes and proteins after Radio Frequency and extremely low frequency EMF exposure at low levels, below current international safety guidance, to living cells in-vitro. These results confirm the likelihood of long-term genetic damage in the blood and brains of users of mobile phones and other sources of electromagnetic fields. The idea behind the REFLEX study as to attempt the replication of damage already report to see if the effects were real and whether, or not, more money should be spent on research into the possible adverse health effects of EMF exposure. They concluded that in-vitro damage is real and that it is important to carry out much more research, especially monitoring the long-term health of people.

NOTE: The first five studies are the only studies known of to date that specifically consider the effects of masts on people and show clear and significant ill-health effects. The REFLEX Study is ground breaking in terms of recognising that there is a significant and real geneotoxic effect to EMR exposure. There are no known studies relating to health effects from masts that do not show such ill-health effects and nor are there any Studies, published or unpublished which categorically conclude this exposure to be completely without effect on health.

Below is the report of the antimast protest on the eastern coast. It may be noted in passing that this area--The Skryne Valley--is also involved in a campaign to save its Hill of Tara--the historic home of the High Kings of Ireland--from another form of "progress": an M3 Motorway!

The report below featured in THE MEATH CHRONICLE, Saturday, Oct 15, 2005


"Residents in pledge to fight phone masts in Skryne area
[BY] Paul Murphy

A YOUNG mother of three children stood before an audience in a packed community hall in Skryne on Friday and pleaded with local residents to fight against the erection of telecommunications masts by Hutchinson 3G at Derrypatrick and Tullaghmeaden.

Martina Halpin, who is a cancer sufferer, said: “If you have children or grandchildren and you want them to grow up without disability or handicap, then stand up and fight. If you don’t, your voice will never be heard.”

The meeting was organised by Skryne Concerned Residents and Derrypatrick/ Tullaghmeaden Community Concerned Parents and was addressed by a number of activists, and by a man who said he had suffered gravely from the proximity of a mobile phone mast near his home. Approximately 100 residents attended the meeting.

At the end of the meeting, which was chaired by Heinrich Liesner, members of the audience were invited to join a committee which is being set up to campaign against phone masts. One has already been erected in the area and another is planned.

Mr Liesner said that Minister Noel Dempsey had been invited to attend, and had replied that he could not come to this particular meeting but might attend a future meeting.

Francis Fitzpatrick of Fine Gael said that he was attending the meeting “because I’m a dad with five kids and because I’m terrified of the implications of this mast. All of these phone companies tell you that masts are no danger to your health. But it sounds very hollow indeed.”

He added: “Two European countries have deemed the masts to be dangerous and said they should not be placed near schools or homes.” They were not against progress, he said, and they were reasonable people seeking to participate in the future progress of their community.

“Our own Government wants to be seen as pro-business, and so do we - but not at the expense of our children,” Mr Fitzpatrick added.

Mr John Cummins of the BEST Group (Better Environmental Safer Telecommunications) said he lived 100 metres from a mobile phone mast at Cahir, Co Tipperary, and suggested there were serious health implications for people living in the vicinity of these masts. In the last three years, 20 people living near the mast had been diagnosed with cancer and a number had died, he said.

“One study has shown that children are magnets for radiation because their skulls are so thin. In Summerhill in Dublin, there were three illegal masts and Tony Gregory TD was asked to investigate. When he got in touch with the health board they told him any illnesses were more to do with social conditions than the masts.”

John Ryan, a farmer from Tipperary, said that he had suffered greatly from the presence of a mobile phone mast 220 yards from his home. He had written to every minister about his health problems. “When I went to the Department of Health they put me back to the Department of Communications. My wife gets flashes behind her eyes and can’t go into the yard. My grandson is five years-old and he has woeful problems. He goes berserk in the school. He drinks five to six pints of milk a night.”

Mr Ryan said he had accepted e10,000 for the erection of a mast on his land but the phone company had told him it would cost him e50,000 to have it taken away, “and even then, they wouldn’t accept it and it’s still there.”

Mr Con Colbert, a retired teacher who works with the Irish Doctors’ Environmental Association, said he lived in Raheny and there were numerous illegal masts where he lived. “There is no planning permission for any of them. You should all be worried about your health and about the state of democracy in this country,” he told the audience.

He said the doctors’ association had carried out research on 16 people living near masts and they suffered from a range of conditions, including buzzing in their ears, stress, anxiety, depression, abnormal throat sensations, and tingling in their lower limbs.

Dr Don MacAuley, Mast Action in Meath (MAIM), said that he had no apologises to make for the fact that MAIM was “the bane of Meath County Council and the phone companies.”

They had fought against the erection of 14 masts to date, he said. “We have won nine and lost five. We have been trying to put safety zones around these masts for the past four years and we are fighting against both the Government and the phone companies who are more interested in profit than health.

“We are going to have 5,000 masts going ahead in Ireland over the next three to four years as the system is rolled out. As a group, we have been pretty effective in fighting these masts. At the moment, the county council will not accept health as a factor in the planning decisions,” Dr MacAuley said.

“Comreg is useless in controlling this situation. When you ask where these masts are, nobody can tell you. The county councils don’t know, the only ones who know are the phone companies. They are being disguised inside chimneys, on gable ends, one inside a crucifix, one disguised as a tree, others in light fittings,” he claimed.

Mr Pat Donnellan, representing Deputy Shane McEntee of Fine Gael, said Deputy McEntee had visited the site at Skryne. He had also had discussions with the company applying to have the mast erected at Skryne and it had said it would be willing to meet local residents. “The mast at Carlanstown is also of concern to Deputy McEntee and he has asked me to say here that he will support the people of Skryne in any way he can.”


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