Buncrana Residents deliver petition opposing leasing the Garda mast to private Mobile Network Operator

Buncrana Garda Mast Action Group, a local residential group opposed to the Garda mast being leased to a private Mobile Network Operator (MNO), have undertaken a petition and delivered it to An Garda Síochana on June 22.

Local Buncrana residents (BGMAG) deliver petition to An Garda Síochana, June 22, 2019

Local Buncrana residents (BGMAG) deliver petition to An Garda Síochana, June 22, 2019

Buncrana Garda Mast Action Group was formed by residents living beside or near Buncrana Garda Station in response to the OPW granting a license to a private Mobile Network Operator for the installation of 3G and 4G EMF equipment on the existing mast at Buncrana Garda Station.

The BGMAG Petition has to date gathered approx 589 signatures in support of our objections to the license and development. The signatures have been collected mainly through door to door canvassing in the Buncrana area. This demonstrates the level of opposition and support our group has from residents. We ask you to take cognisance of the fact that there is a lot of opposition in the town that object to any private company installing 3G and 4G or any EMF equipment on the Garda mast. We also object to not being consulted or having input into the planning process especially since the plan could have adverse effects on residents’ health.

A copy of the petition, along with our objections will be sent to An Garda Síochana, Office of Public Works and Donegal Planning Authority. We will also inform our public representatives as well as local media about the BGMAG Petition.

In any normal planning process this level of oppostion would have a significant bearing on any planning decision. However, it seems that in this case, the development has been exempted by Ministerial orders from having to follow normal planning process. Residents have not been given the opportunity to present their case. This seems to be very much undemocratic and unfair. In fact residents have been ignored entirely and not even consulted or informed.

BGMAG has lodged a Section 5 Exempted Development form with Donegal Planning Authority querying the exemption. We believe that a private company should not be exempted from the planning process even if it uses a OPW property. It is like the State running roughshod over the rights of residents and favoring the Telecommunications companies. In this case the private company has nothing to do with Garda public security but it has everything to do with private commercial interests. We see the use of OPW property by private companies as a way to circumvent normal planning processes. The association with Government and public bodies i.e. Garda Síochana adds undue support to the development. This would give the impression that there is a conflict of interest. In fact the Government is charging these Mobile Network Operators rent for use of the mast.

As well as the issue around the exempted development, in general, we have major concerns with the planning process in relation to the roll-out of EMF Telecommunication infrastructure including masts and antennas. The 1992 Telecommunications Antennae and Support Structure Guidelines, which are still in relevant, emphasises the unsightliness of the structures and says that masts should be situated in industrial zones, away from residents, schools and hospital. However the Government have since amended these Guidelines and tweaked them in favor of the industry. We believe that denying us the right to object and exempting the industry could be classified as unconstitutional. Residents should have fundamental rights and allowed due process when it comes to the planning process especially when the process will affect their health and the enjoyment and value of their property.

If this development is allowed to go ahead it will set a precedent allowing other companies use of the Garda mast. The mast will end up like the one at the West End, covered in EMR equipment and an utter eyesore. Buncrana will have two masts at either end of town which will at least double the amount of electromagnetic waves and radiation in their vicinity. These EMF mobile antennas can send microwaves up to 40 miles and exposure will be more concentrated near base stations in the town. Residents between the two masts will be affected most. Anyone living close to or in direct line of the emissions will be bombarded 24/7. They will not be able to turn it off or be able to physically or financially erect any form of barrier or protection.

Despite assurances from Government and regulatory bodies that EMF technology is safe and that the MNOs are operating within ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection) standards, we are far from convinced and are very worried about the effects on our health. Officially Governments, regulatory bodies and planning authorities are covered by these ICNIRP standards.

The following extract is a critical exposé of ICNIRP from Electromagnetic Radiation Safety: https://www.saferemr.com/2018/07/icnirps-exposure-guidelines-for-radio.html . It is written by a team of investigative journalists from the European Union who have to date published sixteen articles in major newspapers and magazines in seven EU countries: France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and Portugal.

″Investigate Europe alleges the existence of an “ICNIRP cartel.” The journalists identified a group of fourteen scientists who either helped create, or defend, the EMF exposure guidelines disseminated by ICNIRP, a non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Germany. ICNIRP’s self-selected members and advisors believe that EMF safety guidelines need to protect humans only from heating (or thermal) effects due to acute EMF exposure. ICNIRP scientists argue that the thousands of peer-reviewed studies that have found harmful biologic or health effects from chronic exposure to non-thermal levels of EMF are insufficient to warrant stronger safety guidelines. The journalists argue that the cartel promotes the ICNIRP guidelines by conducting biased reviews of the scientific literature that minimize health risks from EMF exposure. These reviews have been conducted for the World Health Organization (WHO) and other government agencies. By preserving the ICNIRP EMF exposure guidelines favored by industry, the cartel ensures that the cellular industry will continue to fund health effects research. Besides these fourteen scientists, perhaps several dozen EMF scientists in the EU and other countries actively defend the ICNIRP exposure guidelines.

In contrast to the dozens of EMF scientists who support the ICNIRP EMF exposure guidelines, more than 240 EMF scientists from 42 nations who published peer-reviewed research on EMF and biology or health totaling over 2,000 papers have signed the International EMF Scientist Appeal. The Appeal calls on the WHO, the United Nations and all member nations to adopt much stronger EMF exposure guidelines that protect humans and other species from sub-thermal levels of EMF exposure and to issue health warnings about the risks of EMF exposure.″