Gardaí suspect masts set on fire deliberately in Co Donegal

Coal found near telecommunications masts which were due to be put into operation soon

Garda forensics officer at the scene in Letterkenny where it is suspected that a telecommunications mast near the town’s hospital was deliberately set on fire. Photograph: North West Newspix.

Garda forensics officer at the scene in Letterkenny where it is suspected that a telecommunications mast near the town’s hospital was deliberately set on fire. Photograph: North West Newspix.

 

Gardaí suspect two large telecommunications masts were set on fire deliberately in Co Donegal on Sunday night.

The 50ft high masts, which are yet to be activated, went on fire at Long Lane and Dr McGinley Road in Letterkenny.

Gardaí said pieces of coal were found at the scenes of the fires.

“We do suspect the fires were started deliberately,” a garda source said. “Traces of coal were found near the control boxes beside the masts.”

Forensic examinations of the scenes were carried on Monday and the results of tests are being awaited.

A spokesman for Eir said the masts were used to provide 3G and 4G internet.

“They were designed to improve indoor coverage, including at Letterkenny Hospital,” he said.

A conspiracy theory linking 5G technology to the spread of coronavirus has spread on social media in recent weeks. However, international radiation experts have repeatedly made clear that the new high-speed telephone system does not pose a risk to humans, while pointing out that the coronavirus has spread widely in many countries without any 5G coverage, such as Iran.

Cllr Gerry McMonagle, who lives near the scene, condemned the incidents.

“We all have our concerns about 5G and we are all awaiting the results of various reports,” he said.

“But the reality is that we simply cannot take the law into our own hands and do something like this. It is vandalism at the end of the day no matter what anyone thinks.

“My understanding from talking previously with Cygnal, the company which put in the masts, are that they are 4G but have the capacity to be upgraded to 5G. I’m told the masts are being put in to upgrade the current broadband in the area but I understand that the broadband is already more than adequate.”

*This article was amended on April 13th, 2020