Three Ireland customers in Dublin facing disruption after mast ruling

20 May 2016

Customers of the Three Ireland mobile network in Dublin are set to face considerable disruption after An Bord Pleanála ruled that one of the network’s ‘vital’ masts in Glasnevin must be taken down.

The decision ordered by An Bord Pleanála is likely to see either outages or a considerable limitation of access to mobile data, with the mast operated by Three Ireland, with additional service to Meteor customers, currently facilitating up to 4G speeds.

The areas it facilitates includes not only the northwest of Dublin, but some of Louth and Meath, too.

The 45m-high tower, located in the Dublin Industrial Estate, has been the subject of much debate among local residents and, according to The Irish Times, it has been described as “visually obtrusive” and a “considerable eyesore”, and now the authorities have ruled residents’ favour.

An Bord Pleanála received 38 submissions in total from residents, as well as submissions from former local councillors and TDs, including Fine Gael’s Paschal Donohoe and Labour’s Joe Costello, who also called for its removal.

‘A vital transmission hub’

Their joint argument questioned why Three Ireland could not move its antennae to a similar-sized mast also located in the industrial estate, which is currently operated by Vodafone.

Now, following these submissions, Three Ireland has been ordered to follow the recommendations of residents and remove the mast in its entirety.

Prior to the mast’s erection in 2003, there was much debate over planning permission for it as, despite Dublin City Council refusing to grant permission on two occasions, An Bord Pleanála renewed the structure’s planning permission in 2010 for a further five years.

Three Ireland has said the ruling will have a major impact on its customers across three counties, describing the mast as a “vital transmission hub”, and that its removal would “result in an immediate and negative impact of coverage levels”.

Additionally, Three Ireland argued, the mast’s removal would affect a number of other commercial operators using the antennae, including the Mater Hospital.

Update 09:32

Three Ireland has since issued a formal statement with regard to potential disruption for its customers.

Three is disappointed with the decision by An Bórd Pleanála to refuse permission to retain this site. There will be no immediate impact on customers while the site remains, and Three is exploring all options to ensure that there continues to be no impact on customers. 

GSM antenna image via Bokstaz/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic