Jacob, Joe

Tuesday, 28 April 1998

Seanad Éireann Debate
Vol. 155 Nbr. 6

Telephone Masts: Statements.

I welcome the opportunity to address Senators on this important issue this evening and, on behalf of the Minister, Deputy O'Rourke, I thank Senators for their forthcoming contributions.More Button

The need for this debate is obvious. It has arisen as a result of concerns being expressed by a number of elected representatives, community groups and individuals in regard to the possible effect...More Button

The Government is determined to ensure that the underlying health and safety issues relating to these technologies are debated and that the genuine concerns being felt in the community are expresse...More Button

In the Minister's opening address to the conference, she made it clear that the Government is open to further suggestions in regard to any action which may need to be taken, the manner in which it ...More Button

Senators will also be aware of recent meetings of the Joint Committee on Public Enterprise where detailed submissions were received from all interest groups, including a wide range of community int...More Button

In my address to the House this evening, I want to highlight the background to the current debate as well as the major issues of concern. The growth of the mobile telecommunications sector in Irel...More Button

Subsequently, the transposition into Irish law of EU Directive 96/2 as SI 123 provided for licensing of a second operator in Ireland. The directive provides that the number of licences for mobile ...More Button

At the end of March, the Eircell analogue service has 189,000 customers and its GSM service had 231,000 customers. Esat Digifone launched its GSM service in March 1997 and now has 113,000 subscrib...More Button

Much attention has focused on the planning issues related to mast construction and operation. I must emphasise that responsibility for planning matters lies with local authorities, with An Bord Ple...More Button

At the time of the commencement of the roll-out of their network for the provision of digital GSM services, Eircell enjoyed an exemption from a requirement to obtain planning permission for the ere...More Button

The erection of a telecommunications mast is considered to be development within the meaning of the Local Government (Planning and Development) Act, 1963, and therefore, requires planning permissio...More Button

The visual impact of masts is acknowledged in the guidelines as being among the more important of the considerations that a planning authority will have to take into account in deciding on a planni...More Button

The licences granted to both Eircell and Esat Digifone are very similar in content and set out specific conditions relating to the development of the operator's network. They also provide that the...More Button

The issue of the health effects of communications masts has already been the subject of much research internationally. A 1996 review which was carried out by the International Commission on Non-io...More Button

Further research in the area has been proposed recently in a report commissioned by the European Commission. The Department of Public Enterprise will be monitoring developments to ensure that the ...More Button

The licences issued to Esat and Eircell also include a range of provisions specifying technical and safety standards to be observed in the provision of their service. These licence provisions conf...More Button

The Garda Síochána operates a telecommunications network for the purpose of its own internal communications that comprises some 700 masts located at Garda stations around the country.More Button

In the second half of 1996, Esat Digifone identified the strategic value of using the network for siting some of its own telecommunications antennae. At the time Digifone was trying to complete t...More Button

I want to turn briefly to two issues which have been the cause of particular debate and comment. In relation to the monitoring of emissions from masts there has been some concern expressed at the a...More Button

Responsibility for telecommunications licences lies with the Director of Telecommunications Regulation appointed under the Telecommunications (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1996. The director is ...More Button

The smooth operation of the planning process necessitates that the operators take a more proactive role in disseminating information in relation to proposed developments for the benefit both of pla...More Button

A number of issues may need to be looked at in terms of the relationship between the communications companies and the local communities, such as the provision of clear and timely information to loc...More Button

In conclusion, I thank Senators for their attention. It is intended that their views will feed into the Government's consideration of the issue. I can assure Senators that the Minister for Public ...More Button

I compliment all the Senators who contributed to this important and topical debate. I have noted the concerns they raised, including the independent monitoring of masts, planning regulations and e...More Button

Independent research is being commissioned by the European Union and the World Health Organisation. We fully partake in the work of those bodies. We are following the most up to date standards wh...More Button

We appreciate very much the interest of community groups in this topic. As Senators have indicated, those groups have expressed genuine concerns which must be respected and addressed. I note the r...More Button

In conclusion, I thank Senators for raising the issue and assure them that their concerns will be listened to.More Button