A COMMUNICATIONS company has offered to meet objectors to a 24-metre mast it plans to erect in Co Kerry.
Residents in the Glenbeigh area last night mounted a protest at the site earmarked by Hutchinson 3G Ireland for a mast to provide broadband internet access.
The company has applied to Kerry County Council for planning permission for the mast.
However, the council is expected to refuse the application because of its rule which bans such masts within 1km of houses and other residential buildings because of health issues.
Objectors claim there are more than 40 houses within 1km of the site on Coillte-owned land, at Ballintleave, on the Killorglin side of Glenbeigh.
Spokesperson for the objecting residents, Karen Clifford, said the vast majority of householders were opposed to the development. "We’re not anti-broadband, but we have concerns about health and safety. There are alternative ways of bringing broadband to people, such as underground fibre-optic cables, without putting people’s health in danger."
Ms Clifford welcomed Hutchinson’s willingness to meet the residents, but said they were still waiting to hear from the company.
Robert Marshall, spokesman for Hutchinson, said they were willing to meet the objectors.
"We’re prepared to discuss with them any concerns they have. We would welcome an opportunity to allay their fears and will be completely open and transparent," he said.
Mr Marshall also said their technical team found the site, between the Red Fox Inn and Dooks Golf Club, to be the best location in the area for a mast.
If the planning application is rejected, an appeal is expected to be lodged with An Bord Pleanála which has overturned the 1km rule on several occasions.