MOBILE phone giant O2 has been refused permission to build a 36-metre high communications mast in a 'sensitive' valley.
The mast at the River Slaney would have caused 'severe' damage.
And the company has also received a setback in Co Kilkenny on a well-known walking trail.
An Bord Pleanala refused permission to build a mast near Mount Brandon, describing the proposal as a 'strident alien feature' which would be 'massive and intrusive'.
In refusing permission, the Board noted Government guidelines which emphasise the importance of rolling-out the telecommunications network.
But it found that the masts would interfere with the picturesque views, and recommended refusal.
The Kilkenny mast would have been located on the South Leinster Way, a route used by walkers for decades. The board said it would 'constitute a massive and intrusive element of input which would be seriously destructive to the enjoyment of the visual and recreational amenity of the area'.
The inspector said he was 'surprised' that O2 made no attempt to provide photographs or montage images, given that most objections related to the visual impact.
Objectors to the mast at Graiguenamanagh last night welcomed the decision.
"We live at the other side of the hill and it's a very important recreational space," Susan Proud said. O2 was also refused permission for a 36-metre mast Ballyhogue, in the valley of the River Slaney.
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