There is some concern in the Castlebar area over a number of different planning applications by telecommunications companies seeking to erect masts.
Large signs opposed to these masts have been erected along the main roadways in the Turlough area and on both the Turlough and Pontoon roads in Castlebar.
At the monthly meeting of Castlebar Municipal District the matter was raised by local Independent councillor Michael Kilcoyne.
He says that elected councillors have been receiving letters and emails from groups both opposed, and in favour of the development of the masts. The need for enhanced online and mobile services in the Turlough area is well recognised, he explained.
However, he said the people would be as well contacting Santa Claus as asking councillors to intervene and discuss the concerns of all sides at a public forum like their monthly municipal meeting.
Elected councillors were prohibited from discussing planning matters at their monthly council meetings by government in 2016, and were further instructed by letter, in 2018, by the Minister for the Environment at the time, from debating planning issues in council chambers.
Councillor Kilcoyne told Midwest News today that elected councillors no longer have a voice in planning matters in their own areas, as the power has all been handed over to faceless bureaucrats.