New broadband masts an 'eyesore' says Laois community group

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

The new broadband  and mobile signal mast being erected in Durrow in Laois. Photo from Durrow Development Forum.

The new broadband and mobile signal mast being erected in Durrow in Laois. Photo from Durrow Development Forum.

A Laois village group has reacted with anger to the erection of a new mast to provide mobile and broadband signals.

The 15 metre tall mast has been installed on the outskirts of Durrow on the Kilkenny road, the home of Durrow Scarecrow Festival.

The mast is one of 10 being erected in Laois by the recently formed company Cignal, an independent provider of communications infrastructure who will lease spaces on the towers to mobile and broadband industries.

Durrow Development Forum has made a statement on Facebook calling the mast "an eyesore".

The forum understands that the masts do not require planning permission as they are infrastructure. Instead they were given a licence by Laois County Council planners.

"Structurally it is an eyesore on a gateway into our village, a village which has been working over the past number of years to preserve and enhance same as a Heritage and Tourism destination. If Cignal Communications and Laois County Council had communicated with DDF and the community of Durrow, an alternative and more suitable location could have been found".

The forum said that the lack of public consultation is disappointing.

"DDF contacted Laois County Council as there was no planning online regarding same and were advised that it didn’t require planning permission and that a Section 254 licence application from Cignal Communications for a 15m monopole for telecommunications Street works Solutions at Derry Wood estate on the Kilkenny Road (N77) was granted.  LCC also advised that it is considered that the development falls under section 254 (1) (ee) of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended so does not require planning permission.
This is very disappointing that DDF or residents were not consulted regarding same," the statement from Durrow Development Forum said.

Below: the mast in Durrow.

Cignal has bought 300 existing communications masts from Coillte, and is halfway through a €25 million investment to construct 300 more, mainly in rural areas, to improve signal coverage for mobile phones and broadband in Ireland. 

"As an independent Irish infrastructure provider, Cignal seek to maximise the use of this infrastructure to support requirements for a range of customers. This serves to reduce the proliferation of tower sites, delivers sustainable infrastructure and reduces the cost of deployment for our customers.

"We are proud of our commitment to the Irish market and our ambition is to enhance our position as the telecoms infrastructure provider of choice for our customers," the company says on its website.

Cignal is backed by Paris-based infrastructure fund, InfraVia Capital Partners.