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16 March 2010
Prehistoric remains block broadband plan in Ireland

A telecommunications mast which would provide Internet broadband access to a scenic area of Kerry (Ireland) would be a 'new alien intrusion' on a very beautiful and almost pristine landscape. That's according to senior An Bord Pleanála inspector, Robert Ryan.
     The area around the proposed location for a 12-metre mast at Coomasaharn, Glenbeigh, is "one of the most significant Bronze Age landscapes in the country," Kerry County Council also conceded. The local authority noted the Glenbeigh area has the greatest concentration of ancient rock art in Ireland, with more than 100 recorded examples.
     Mr Ryan supported the council and upheld a decision to refuse Hutchinson 3G Ireland planning permission for the mast on archaeological grounds. Hutchinson 3G has the Government's national contract to roll out broadband to previously unserviced rural areas. The company claims there is a strong demand for broadband in the Glenbeigh area and no other site options were available.
     Normally, An Bord Pleanála overturns Kerry County Council's decisions in relation to masts because it does not agree with a controversial rule by the council which bans such masts on sites which are within a kilometre of houses, schools and other residential buildings.  On this occasion, however, Bord Pleanála - while still disagreeing with the one-kilometre rule - granted the appeal on grounds of protecting the sensitive landscape and local archaeology.

Source: The Irish Examiner (8 March 2010)

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