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Standoff Gardaí called in as locals protest 5G mast at Wexford GAA club grounds

Around 12 people gathered at the field beside the club early on Monday morning after word was spread

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28/3/2022 Rathgarogue Cushinstown GAA park putting up mast. Photo; Mary Browne

28/3/2022 Rathgarogue Cushinstown GAA park putting up mast. Photo; Mary Browne

28/3/2022 Rathgarogue Cushinstown GAA park putting up mast. Photo; Mary Browne

Gardaí were called to a field beside a GAA pitch on Monday following a protest over a 5G pole being erected.

Vehicles and pedestrians blocked the access to the field beside Rathgarogue-Cushinstown GAA Club, to prevent workers from preparing the base for a 72ft telecommunications pole.

Cignal Infrastructure Ltd (now owned by Cellnex) have planning permission to erect a 24m monopole and infrastructure which can be used for 5G broadband infrastructure.

The erection of the pole has lead to huge upset for local residents who weren’t consulted about the plans. The plan is to lease the mast to one or more of the country’s main broadband providers: Eir, Vodafone or Virgin.

The terms of the agreement saw the club receive a €55,000 up-front payment for the siting of the mast on club property. The club received this money but has offered to return it. 

This offer has not been accepted by Cignal.

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A crane at the field on Monday.

A crane at the field on Monday.

A crane at the field on Monday.

 

Around 12 people gathered at the field beside the club early on Monday morning after word was spread that workers had cut a lock at a gate providing access to the field and were working on site.

Rathgarogue-Cushinstown GAA Club chairperson Robert O’Connor said work began at around 6.30 a.m.

“Some of the neighbours organised people to attend.”

He confirmed that a local resident had placed a lock on the gate, in an attempt to block workers fro accessing the site.

Mr O’Connor said sub contractors weren’t allowed to bring materials onto the site as the road was blocked by residents.

The blockade continued for several hours as workers waited for word from their employer as to whether or not they could leave the site.

“They could have left at 10 a.m. but decided to leave at 1.”

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Mr O’Connor said the club is hoping to meet Cellnex representatives over the coming days, adding that it is willing to return the €55,000 the company has given to the club.

“Locals residents are unhappy the mast is so close to them because of the impact on sightlines. The ball is in their (the company’s) court; hopefully something will come out of the meeting.”

Mr O’Connor said there are four or five houses located around the pitch which would be impacted, adding that the lack of consultation pre-planning was a source of frustration locally.

“The club, in good faith, went along with the plans, not realising the bad feeling that existed.” 

Gardaí attended the stand-off, having been called by the company, adding that the matter was resolved peacefully.

The term of the club’s agreement with Cignal was for 35 years.

Cignal Infrastructure Ltd has since been bought out by a Spanish company called Cellnex.

The company had not commented on the protest or their plans for the Cushinstown monopole project going forward at the time of going to press.

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