Ramelton > Eircom Mast > Letters  


Please read the letters sent to the President, Ministers, Cllrs. and the County Manager
from the RAMELTON YOUTH PROJECT and other concerned people

From: Aoife Allison
Sent: 03 September 2009 16:04
To: frank.sweeney@donegalcoco.ie
Subject: Follow Up of the Meeting ref: Eircom Mast Ramelton

Hi Frank,
 
I attended a meeting with yourself and the other Residents from Ramelton on 6th August.
 
It was my understanding at that meeting that you were going to follow up with the other planner and provide us with the following information.
 
1.  Minutes from the meeting with Eircom which had taken place on October 16th?
 
2.  Details of who attended that meeting with Eircom?
 
3.  Details as to whether Eircom were encouraged to engage in pre-planning meetings with the locals.
 
4.  Some clarification that Eircom were able to prove that this was their last resort?
 
We also discussed the possibility of improving some areas of the planning procedure to prevent this situation arising in the future.
 
Examples discussed:
 
1. Documentation to prove the site notices are erected. i.e. a photograph, signed form etc.
 
2. The possibility of inspecting the site notices at the end of the site application period!
 
3.  Informing the local councillors of any possible controversial planning applications and also encouraging pre planning discussions.
 
4. A Check List to ensure all areas of the Donegal County Development Plan and the Telecommunications Guidelines have been adhered to.
 
5. More consideration for the Local People who will be living close to these Masts etc.
 
6. The possibility of encouraging the planning applications ads to appear in local papers again for controversial applications.
 
7.  Improvements on the search facility on the Donegal County Council Websites.
 
I would be grateful for your response as soon as possible with your findings and recommendations.
 
Thanking you
 
Aoife Allison.


From: Aoife Allison
Sent: 30 July 2009 15:08
To: mmcloone@donegalcoco.ie
Subject: Ramelton Planning 08/50239

Dear Michael,
 
I am contacting you in relation to the above Planning Application.
 
I am sure you are aware we have had 5 Public Meetings in Ramelton in relation to the Location of this 20 M Eircom Mast.   You may also be aware we have spoken with Eircom to voice our concerns in relation to the location.
 
We are also holding a public protest tonight at St Mary's National School at 6.30.
 
All that said at every meeting we have had, the local community feel that Donegal County Council have let us down.  These are the concerns that have been raised over and over again.  I feel it is important for me and the local community that we get some answers.  We are now at the mercy of Eircom and Tetra.
   
We are aware that the planning has been granted and our time has lapsed to appeal this decision.  However we would like for other communities not have to suffer like us.
 
Please take a look at the following questions that have been raised:
There are inconsistencies as to how this information is displayed on your website!  This in not acceptable!  People do not walk around their local communities looking for site notices.  It is easier to search on the website.  The information needs to be easily found.  This is not the case for Donegal County Councils Website!

To find it on the Donegal County Council website you need to have the Planning Reference number.  Why?
Why when you type Eircom into the Search box does Ramelton not show up?
   
Also Why Can Eircom advertise in the National Papers and not the local papers.  This needs to be investigated and perhaps changed as a requirement.
 
We want answers to these Questions.
  Eircom have applied for Planning in 7 areas including Ramelton reference 08/50239 that we can find.  Tetra have also applied under there name. 

  I have looked over the Planning Applications for Eircom and have found the following that I think are interesting.
2 of these have been refused planning even after it was appealed to An Bord Pleanala.
These were in Kilcar planning reference 07/21326 and Cloghanmore ref 07/60719. Please look at Planner Recommendations. 
 
We feel there have been inconsistencies in the Planners Recommendations and want to know why the Planner in Ramelton did not seem to adhere to the:
 
County Donegal Development Plan 2006-2012

  Why didn't they refer to Section 2.8 of Appendix A (Technical Standards) of County Development Plan 2006-2012.  Paragraph 6 details issues against which telecommunications applications are assessed and these siting and design, public health and safety, visual amenity, residential amenity, compliance with relevant legislation, proximity of structure to Residential Areas, Schools, Hospitals and nearby settlements, potential for co location

Also Appendix E Urban Objectives are:
To Enhance the overall attractiveness and image of the County's Urban Spaces, facilitating both residents and visitors alike.

  The Telecommunications Antennae and Support Structures - Guidelines for Planning Authorities Doelf 1996.
 
Sections
3.2”sites besides schools which might give rise to local concerns"

4.3 visual impact and only as a last resort should free Standing masts be located within or in the immediate surrounds of smaller towns and village..... Also in the same section only as a last resort should free-standing masts be located in residential areas or beside schools.  
 
Granted the planner does mention the school but not much reference is made in relation to the houses.
   
We would be grateful if you could address our concerns and questions as soon as possible.  We would also like to meet with you.
 
 
Thanking You in Advance.
 
Aoife Allison
Pro Ramelton Committee.

THE MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE, R.O.O.T.S.
THE RAMELTON COMMUNITY YOUTH PROJECT
THE COMMUNITY CENTRE, POUND STREET, RAMELTON
Tel: 91 51667


President Mary Mc Aleese
Àras an Uachtaràin
Phoenix Park
Dublin 8

Re: Erection of Eircom Mast at entrance to Heritage Town of Ramelton near to Schools etc.

Dear President Mc Aleese,

We are writing to request your support for a community campaign to overturn planning permission for an Eircom mast to be erected near to our primary school, health centre, community nursing unit and residential estates. No one was aware that the mast was to be erected in this location. A site notice was not visible during the planning period and the community only became aware after the concrete base for the mast was installed. The mast is to be erected in a hollow; the school is directly opposite on a hill.

This planning decision contravenes the current County Donegal Development Plan section 3.2 “sites besides schools that might give rise to local concerns” and 4.3 “visual impact”.

As well as the fears and concerns of the people in the community regarding such a development we also have the added fear of a 20 meter mast at the entrance of our beautiful heritage town.

We are sending you a copy of our letter to the County Manager , Mr Michael McLoone regarding the mounting community fears about the erection of a mast near to St. Mary's N.S.

As the Management Committee of the Community Youth Project that has over two hundred registered young people attending weekly, we request that you address this matter urgently to calm mounting fears in the community especially those of the young people within our project as the fears of the parents of the young people are being passed onto them. In light of the above we urge you to contact Mr. Michael McLoone, the County Manager , to ask him to overrule the Planner's decision to allow a mast to be erected in this location.

We are sending you a hard copy of this email along with letters from some children and young people who attend our project.

We look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Aileen Boyce,
Secretary


From: ramelton.net [mailto:info@ramelton.net]
Sent: 18 July 2009 13:00
To: 'northwestinfo@failteireland.ie'
Subject: The Heritage Town of Ramelton Needs Your Help!

Fáilte Ireland

To whom it may concern

The community of Ramelton at present is in a state of grave concern and fear since we became aware only recently, that Eircom have been granted Planning Permission to erect a 20 m TETRA-mast in close proximity to 2 local schools, house estates and at the busiest main approach road to our town.

Ramelton, Co. Donegal, is a Fáilte Ireland designated Heritage Town;
chosen because of its Irish Georgian architecture and the beautiful Irish Georgian Mall that stretches along the River Lennon, yet this extremely unsightly structure has been located directly adjacent to these features.
This mast will be the first structure seen by visitors entering the Heritage Town.

  All Councillors unanimously agreed at their first meeting of the new Letterkenny Electoral area committee that the council would write to Eircom in an attempt to get them to relocate the controversial mast.

There is a very informative piece on www.ramelton.net (key facts, press releases, comments, pictures etc). 
An Online Petition is on the website and we also have one circulating in the town, which already signed more than 1000 people .  
We have had three articles in the Tirconaill Tribune, two in the Donegal News and one in the Letterkenny Post (also readable online).

We urge you too, to ask Eircom to consider a re-location of the mast because this will be a huge visual impact to the town and will effect immensely the tourism to the town and the area as there are also health concerns rising.

Your help and support will be very much appreciated and we look forward to hearing from you shortly as Eircom are due to start work very soon .

Yours sincerely

George & Ina Hermes


THE MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE, R.O.O.T.S.
THE RAMELTON COMMUNITY YOUTH PROJECT
THE COMMUNITY CENTRE, POUND STREET, RAMELTON
Tel: 91 51667


Minister O'Keeffe,
Minister for Education
Marlborough Street
Dublin

Re: Community opposition to erection of mast near to St. Mary's National School , Ramelton

Dear Minister O'Keeffe,

We are writing to request your support for a community campaign to overturn planning permission for an Eircom mast to be erected near to the primary school. No one was aware that the mast was to be erected in this location. A site notice was not visible during the planning period and the community only became aware after the concrete base for the mast was installed. The mast is to be erected in a hollow; the school is directly opposite on a hill.

There is mounting fear among the parents of the children who attend the school. As the Management Committee of the Community Youth Project that has over two hundred registered young people attending weekly, we request that you address this matter urgently to calm mounting fears in the community. In light of the above we urge you to contact Mr. Michael McLoone, the County Manager , to ask him to overrule the Planner's decision to allow a mast to be erected in this location.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Aileen Boyce,
Secretary


 

Dear Minister Ryan,
 
I am writing to you as a concerned parent and resident in Ramelton Co Donegal.
 
As I think you are already aware, Eircom are proposing to erect a 20m mast at a site which we as a community feel is totally unsuitable. It is in very close proximity to schools churches residential estates and a nursing home. We are very concerned with a number of issues relating to how this mast was granted planning as neither the government guidelines or the Donegal development plan guidelines for communications has been adhered to.(If you log on to www.ramelton.net you will find a very informative article on it)  
 
We have had a number of public meetings on this issue and we had a delegation attend a meeting with Paul O Sullivan from Eircom yesterday to urge them to consider relocating.
 
The planning has been granted with no objections made at the time, but no one from the community had any idea it was happening. There is a lot of debate over whether there was a site notice erected as no one has ever seen it, and it was not on the council website at the time.
We have a petition with 960 signatures and rising all the time, opposing to the location of this mast, this is an indication of the strength of feeling of the community on this matter.
 
If you could offer us any help or support on this matter it would be greatly appreciated, time is of the essence as the base for the mast is already in and Eircom could erect any minute now.
 
Thanking you in advance for your time and consideration on this matter
 
Eilis Friel


 

THE MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE, R.O.O.T.S.
THE RAMELTON COMMUNITY YOUTH PROJECT
THE COMMUNITY CENTRE, POUND STREET, RAMELTON
Tel: 91 51667

Mr. Michael McLoone
County Manager
Donegal County Council
Lifford

Re: Community fear over location of mast in Ramelton

Dear Mr. McLoone,

We are writing to express our community's concern following our recent awareness of the fact that an Eircom mast is to be erected in Ramelton. The mast is to be located in a hollow directly opposite St. Mary's N.S. which is on a hill. The school would be in the direct line of mast's radiation. The proposed mast would also be in close proximity to the Community Nursing Unit, Ramelton Health Centre, and residential estates. This contravenes the County Donegal Development Plan, 2006-2012, in which Section 3.2 describes as unsuitable “sites beside schools which might give rise to local concerns”. There is at present grave local concern which is compounded by the fact that no one knew about the proposed development.

During the period when planning permission was being considered hundreds of people passed the site daily and no one saw a site notice. This can be testified to in writing. Furthermore the proposed development was not on the Donegal County Council Planning Department web site. This accounts for the fact that there was no community opposition to the proposed development. It should be noted that two previous applications for masts to be erected in the town of Ramelton were successfully objected to by the community because they were publicly advertised and site notices were visible.

As the Management Committee of the Community Youth Project that has over two hundred registered young people attending weekly, we request that you address this matter urgently to calm mounting fears in the community. In light of the above we urge you to overrule the Planner's decision to allow a mast to be erected in this location.

Finally just to inform you that the committee formed to oppose this development are investigating the legality of this decision as we have been informed that the County Development Plan has legal status and is not a guideline so therefore why has someone contravened your own development plan.

Yours sincerely,

Aileen Boyce,
Secretary


 

I am contacting you again to see if their has been any feedback from the Minister Ryan in relation to our Concerns.
 
Please take a look at www.ramelton.net . it will give a little more information.
 
We have had 4 public meetings.
 
Eircom could erect this mast next week.
 
We have nearly 1000 signatures on a petition in relation to the location of the mast.
 
We are not opposed to the mast just the location.
 
We have had a meeting with Paul O' Sullivan from Eircom urging him to consider relocating.
 
I am asking the minister to please contact Eircom and request the same.
Paul o' sullivan email address is communityrelations@gmail.com   mobile 085 1411061.
 
Please make this a matter of priority.
 
Thanking You
 
Aoife Allison.
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Subject: RE: 20 m EIRCOM MAST FOR RAMELTON (Heritage town and Close Proximity to Local Schools
Date: Mon, 6 Jul 2009 14:07:21 +0100
From: Minister.Ryan@dcenr.gov.ie
To: aoifeallison@hotmail.co.uk

Dear Ms Allison,

On behalf of Mr Eamon Ryan T.D., Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, I wish to acknowledge receipt of your e-mail 05 July.

The contents are currently receiving attention.

Yours sincerely,

Colm O'Conaill
Private Secretary

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From: Aoife Allison
Sent: 05 July 2009 23:31
To: Eamon Ryan
Subject: 20 m EIRCOM MAST FOR RAMELTON (Heritage town and Close Proximity to Local Schools

Dear Mr Ryan,

I am contacting you on behalf of a Committee that has be set up in Ramelton Co. Donegal to voice concerns regarding the setting of an Eircom Mast in our Heritage Town, in close proximity to local schools and residential areas.  

We have had two public meetings regarding the Proposed Location of  The ERECTION OF A 20 METRE SUPPORT POLE TO CARRY 3NO. RADIO ARIALS (3.9M) FOR USE BY THE EMERGENCY SERVICES (GARDA, AMBULANCE AND FIRE BRIGADE) TOGETHER WITH ASSOCIATED EQUIPMENT, CABINET, FENCING AND CABLE LADDER FOR A NEW NATIONAL DIGITAL RADIO SERVICE By Eircom. Eircom Mast Planning Reference 085/0239 Milford County Council.

There was and has been a strong turnout from the local community regarding this Mast including the Local Parish Priest and the Local Principal of St Mary's National School.
      

         Eircom are using the justification that this mast is necessary for Emergency Services, but their own submission for the planning application states the following:

      The Emergency Services use is the primary and intended use of the proposed structure.

      The mast will be used to provide duplex communications allowing digital radio terminals to access mobile and land based telephone systems. (In other words it is likely that this is a duel Purpose Mast, and can be used in the future for other purposes).

      Their own site assessment states that regular measurement of emission levels will be required to comply with the International Radiation Protection Association Guidelines.

      Coverage Map submitted with the planning application appears to show the mast broadcasting as far as Buncrana.

     Department of the Environment Guidelines for Planning Authorities on the Telecommunications Act 1996 states that only as last resort... should free standing masts be located in a residential area or beside schools. ( How can this location be described "as a last resort" and be the only location that Eircom could find???)

     This mast is approximately:

30 m from the nearest housing estate (100 feet)

140 m from the nearest school (460 feet)

183 m from nearest nursing home (600 feet)

103 m from the local Chapel and parochial hall (340 feet)

264 m from the local Churches and hall (870 feet)

I am attaching a picture that was taken which will show how close this Mast is to the above locations.

     Ramelton is a Fáilte Ireland designated Heritage Town. Chosen because of its Irish Georgian architecture and the beautiful Irish Georgian Mall that stretches along the river Lennon, yet this extremely unsightly structure has been located directly adjacent to these features, and on the busiest main approach road to the town. This mast will be the first structure seen by visitors entering the heritage town.

     We are unsure of Health implications.    People can choose whether to use a mobile handset, but where is the choice in whether a base station is put up nearby and have houses, families, children, schools and a nursing home being covered 24 hours a day by mast emissions.
    TETRA "Emergency Service Masts" have also caused severe interference to local television reception. Recent problems have been experienced in Kinsale, in Cork and Dunleer in Dundalk.

We would appreciate if you could look into this matter. Thanking you in advance for you time and consideration on this matter.

Yours Sincerely
Aoife Allison  


 

THE MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE, R.O.O.T.S.
THE RAMELTON COMMUNITY YOUTH PROJECT
THE COMMUNITY CENTRE, POUND STREET, RAMELTON
Tel: 91 51667

Councillor Ciaran Brogan
Derg Cottage, Ballaghderg
Letterkenny
Co. Donegal

Dear Ciaran,

We are sending you a copy of our letter to the County Manager regarding the mounting community fears about the erection of a mast near to St. Mary's N.S.
We would be grateful for your full support.
We would like you to contact the County Manager urging him to overrule this decision and to contact Eircom and ask them to relocate this development.

Looking forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.

Sincerely,
Aileen Boyce,
Secretary

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