An Bord Pleanála has ordered that 3 Ireland remove a phone mast in Dublin's Glasnevin area despite warnings by the company this would cause major service disruptions for customers in Dublin, Louth and Meath.
The 45m mast in the Dublin Industrial Estate facilitates mobile phone coverage and 2G, 3G and 4G internet services for 3 and Meteor customers in the area and farther afield. Local residents wanted the structure removed due to its "visually obtrusive" nature and An Bord Pleanála has decided to refuse permission to retain the mast.
The planning body received 38 separate submissions on the case, mainly from residents of the nearby Claremont and The Willows housing estates who argued the mast is a "considerable eyesore" and "makes a poor impression on visitors to the estates".
"In a statement issued to The Irish Times, Three Ireland said it is "exploring all options" following the judgement, and that the mast continues to be fully functional for the time being.
If it chooses to comply with An Bórd Pleanála's directions, the company must liaise with Dublin City Council to agree a timescale for when the structure will be dismantled."
There has been a telecommunications presence on the site since 1997 when
erected a 20m mast, later replaced by the current one in 2003.
That structure was given renewed five-year planning permission for 12 antennas and 21 radio link dishes by An Bord Pleanála in 2010. This was after Dublin City Council refused to grant permission in both 2003 and 2010.
Third-party appellants estimated anywhere between 65 and 150 houses in the two estates were "impacted with clear views of the imposing mast", and the Claremont and The Willows Residents Mast Committee launched a petition for its removal, signed by 85 per cent of Claremont residents and 65 per cent of The Willows homeowners .
Antennas and satellites
The planning inspector also received submissions from local councillors Cieran Perry and
, former TD for the area
, all of whom called for the mast to be taken down.
Residents queried why 3 Ireland could not relocate the antennas and satellites to a 42 m structure operated by Vodafone, which is positioned more centrally within the industrial estate.
3 Ireland argued the site is "a vital transmission hub" and "failure to maintain this installation would result in an immediate and negative impact of coverage levels in Finglas, Glasnevin and the north Dublin, Louth and Meath areas". The mast also serves five commercial operators, including the Mater and Bar Council, and the firm said removal would affect the hospital and local businesses.