State companies at loggerheads over Portlaoise mast

A proposal by Coillte to erect a telecommunications structure in the Portlaoise area has met with opposition from ESB Telecoms, who have deemed the structure “superfluous to requirements”.

The proposed 36m antenna support structure carrying telecommunications equipment for both Meteor and Digiweb would be located in Kilcolmanbane, bringing mobile and broadband services to the areas of Kilcolmanbane, Sheffield Cross, Glenfield and surrounding hinterland.

However, a submission has been made to Laois County Council by ESB Telecoms Ltd, signed by senior planner Mr Niall Fitzpatrick.

“ESB Telecoms Ltd oppose this site as it is superfluous to requirements in a town that is already well serviced by a mix of fibre connected tower and rooftop station sites,” he said, adding that it would not enhance telecommunications in the area.

Mr Fitzpatrick cited the Telecommunications Antennae and Support Structures Guidelines for Planning Authorities published in July 1996. The guidelines seek “to avoid an unnecessary proliferation of masts”, hence masts are expected to facilitate multiple operators.

“In this instance, the potential agreement of two operators to co-locate on the proposed development does not meet the requirements of the policy as there is ample structural capacity on existing towers,” the ESB Telecoms submission claimed.

Mr Fitzpatrick went on to say that a previous structure was built at the proposed location without grant of permission and it subsequently blew over in harsh weather.

As the area is considered to be part of the county’s hills and upland areas, Mr Fitzpatrick claimed that the development would have detrimental effect on the views and amenity to the south of the town.

A decision is due from Laois County Council by September 4.


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