By Geraldine Gittens
Wednesday October 22 2008
RESIDENTS of a West Dublin housing estate, which lies next to a phone mast, are calling on the HSE to conduct a full health assessment in the area after an apparently large number of cancer diagnoses.
Neighbours in St Ronan's Gardens, Neilstown, and leaders of Mast Action Clondalkin (MAC) are continuing to voice their concerns about the mobile phone mast which stands in their local garda station.
"We did a survey of 150 houses and 38 people in those houses had cancer," says Gino Kelly, a member of MAC. "It's a very preliminary study but we went around and asked questions."
"Now we're asking the HSE to do a proper health study. The amount of people here with cancer cannot be normal."
Earlier this month, the group expressed their outrage to the Herald when it was discovered that An Garda Siochana failed to investigate the link between the mast and the fact that nine officers in the area have suffered brain cancer.
Residents are now calling for an investigation by the health authorities into the matter.
"Eight women in a pocket area of houses had cervical cancer and for them to all have the same type of cancer is very strange," says Gino. "It could be a coincidence but what we're saying is 'go and find out'," he added.
"My two children are attending Tallaght hospital with nosebleeds," says Caroline Kinsella.
"We did door-to-doors and we found that the number of nosebleeds is very bad. We've been given no explanation. People are going to the hospital and doctors, but we've had no explanation. It's not just a nosebleed. It's buckets.
"My son Dylan gets really bad headaches every two or three days, and he can't look at the light or the television or anything," says Elizabeth Bell. Imelda Russell's brother, Brian, slept at the back of their house in St Ronan's Gardens, one of the houses closest to the mast.
"Two-and-a-half years ago he got a brain tumour. He's had chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and every six months he has to have a brain scan.
"The doctors say there's no way of removing it, and if they did he'd be paralysed. The type of tumour he has is a very rare tumour, and one garda also has it. Imelda's house is literally 35 meters away from the high tension wire," says Gino, "so it's extremely near people's living space."
Pat Keating, whose wife Teresa died last March of a brain haemorrhage, was also present at the outdoor meeting.
"My wife was never sick in her life," said Pat, "but she just collapsed one day and by the time she was brought to hospital, it was too late. We're having a protest this Thursday at 7.30pm outside Ronanstown Garda Station, and we want to get as many local people as possible here."
The Office of Public Works, which decided to put the mast in the station, has insisted that it is within EU guidelines and they have refuted the idea that the mast is responsible for cancer cases in the area.
- Geraldine Gittens