Public workers 'concerned' by phone mast siting

THE CENTRAL Statistics Office in Dublin's Rathmines is set to become the latest site for a mobile phone mast as part of the Government's plan to generate €10m a year from the practice.

However, staff at the centre have expressed serious concern at the decision, particularly as a recent report in Britain urged more caution in the siting of such masts.

A spokesman for the Office of Public Works confirmed yesterday that the Central Statistics Office is one of 12 additional State-owned sites where a mast is proposed to be erected. The sites are spread around the country and follow similar masts placed on over 100 garda stations, as well as three other public buildings in Dublin and Cork.

Staff at the Central Statistics Office are angry they have been chosen as a site and point out there are already masts on Cathal Brugha army barracks nearby.

Eoin Roynane of the Civil and Public Service Union confirmed yesterday that the concerns of members are increasing. He said the group of unions representing public servants had raised it at a general council meeting with the Department of Finance last month.

Staff are now demanding adequate consultation on the proposals and insist there must be more attention given to their fears for their health.

The State coffers expect to be richer by about €100m at the end of the next 10 years as a result of the income they receive from mobile phone companies for the masts.

Communications Minister Noel Dempsey said the Stewart report of
2000 recommended that beams of greatest intensity should not fall on any part of school grounds.

There are a number of schools in Rathmines.

"The UK Court of Appeal decision of November 12, 2004, that mobile phone masts do not pose a risk to public health that would justify a ban on positioning them near schools was made following consideration of the evidence since the publication of the Stewart report," he said. The minister added: "My officials maintain a watching brief on all of the evidence presented each year on this issue, and Ireland participates in the relevant international bodies which monitor this work and set limits on electromagnetic emissions to protect the public."

Eilish O'Regan
Health Correspondent
Irish Independent 18/01/05

Informant: Colette O'Connell

Workers comp case re brain dysfunction and microwave radiation


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