Monday, 16 April 2007

Phone mast protesters under fire for targeting worshippers

MOBILE phone mast protestors were criticised yesterday for targeting worshippers at a Church of Ireland Sunday service.
Residents holding placards mounted a picket outside the St Mary’s and All Saints Church of Ireland in Glanmire, on the outskirts of Cork city, against plans by Vodafone to locate a mobile phone mast on the church grounds.
Up to 15 people stood outside the building on Church Hill, chanting slogans as worshippers arrived for the 11.30am service.
Revered Daniel Owen declined to comment yesterday. But it is understood worshippers were extremely disappointed that protestors targeted their service.
The church dates from the 1780s and enjoys a beautiful setting perched on a hill overlooking an estuary.
Vodafone applied to Cork County Council earlier this month for permission to erect a large free-standing telecommunications antennae, understood to be up 20 metres high, and equipment cabinets on its grounds.
The mast will be used to provide wireless broadband and boost the mobile phone service in the area.
It will be within 20 metres of the nearest homes, about 100m from Coláiste an Phiarsaigh secondary school, and about 500 from a primary school. Planners are due to make a decision by the end of the month.
Local councillor John Gilroy, who has lodged an objection against the mast, said the protestors should not have targeted people attending a religious service, or picketed their place of worship.
“This is not the right way to do it. The project is still in the planning process. The picket was unnecessary.
“Nobody wants a mast beside them, especially not in the scenic location, and we should be fair and reasonable and go through the planning process. But this proposal is such an ill-conceived one, I’m confident it won’t make it through the planning process.”
The Glanmire Church of Ireland building — the oldest of the three churches in the Cobh and Glanmire Union — was consecrated in 1786. In 1805, it hosted the wedding of Captain Robert Sturgeon to Sarah Curran, the lover and secret fiancee of executed Irish patriot Robert Emmet.

Eoin English
© Irish Examiner

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