Republican News · Thursday 11 May 2000

[An Phoblacht]

Mast wars in Carrick-on-Shannon

Eircell, along with a small army of `security men', sneaked into the ESB sub-station in Carrick-on-Shannon at 6am last week to erect a high mobile phone mast. People in the area have been campaigning for two and a half years against the mast. ``It's our health. Cancer statistics are horrifying around here,'' says Dan Hurley of the Mullaghmore Concerned Residents Group. As it is the nearby houses are situated like flies in a spider's web of pylons and 110 KV. ESB cabling.

Some 30 protestors, old and young, couldn't stop Eircell coming in, so they stopped them coming out. The Gardaí arrived, ``They dragged us out of the road like dogs,'' says Hurley. ``They said they were doing it for our own protection''.

The local councillors, from Roscommon came down. It made no difference.'' There is no longer a place for the ordinary man in Ireland. Governments don't govern anymore'', says Hurley. ``The companies of this `Celtic Tiger' can do just what they like''.

Up at Cootehill, County Cavan, protesters against another Eircell mast, situated just 200 yards from the village, have been on the road for two and a half years - every day. It is a prison sentence for the protestors. But where else can they turn? They feel they are powerless.

In Scotland and now England, there over 200 county councils are refusing to let masts be erected near where people live. In this country, An Bord Pleanála and the councillors haven't even tumbled to the fact that no one can say they are safe or that the non-ionizing radiation doesn't cause cancer.

On Monday evening, 8 May, Leitrim County Council rejected planning permission for a mast at Drumkeeran. It will be appealed to An Bord Pleanála.

``Its all about our health, but no one wants to talk about this,'' says Dan Hurley. ``But we haven't finished yet.''

Sinn Fein opposes Dublin waste tax

Dublin City Manager John Fitzgerald asked councillors at Monday's meeting of Dublin Corporation to approve a tax of 150 per household per annum to pay for the Waste Management plan which, he claimed, members had all agreed.

Incinerators don't come cheap.

``Its in line with EU best practice,'' said the County Manager. ``Is it indeed?'' asks Christy Burke, declaring the Sinn Féin group's outright opposition to this tax on householders.

Councillors said they only received notification of this waste charge proposal that morning. ``What a strange way the council has of introducing what undoubtedly will become the greatest conflict facing the city managers in a decade,'' says Dessie Ellis.

In the end the councillors decided to refer the matter of a waste charge to the Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) on the Environment for further discussion.

It will be the first test of whether the SPCs achieve their objective, which is to increase the democracy and accountability of the councils.

Power to arrest and intern refugees

John O'Donoghue, the 26-County Minister for Justice, announced his new powers on Tuesday, 9 May, to get rid of people who seek asylum here.

Asylum seekers will no longer need to be told that they are to be deported. Gardaí will be empowered to arrest them without warning and imprison them, if the minister thinks it likely that they ``may avoid their deportation''. He has promised legislation in the coming weeks.

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