Mobile phone mast attacked

Health fears are again cited after a base station is destroyed, and terrorists are reported to have carried out the attack

A second mobile phone mast has been destroyed in Northern Ireland, and this time terrorists have been implicated in the violence.

The base station -- located in an industrial part of Ballymena, Antrim -- was attacked on the night of 29 December. The mast was in the process of being constructed but had been the focus of local protests in recent months, due to concerns that it might be harming the health of residents living nearby.

It is thought likely that the attack -- which came just two weeks after a similar incident that destroyed a mast in Dungannon, Northern Ireland -- was carried out by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), a loyalist paramilitary group.

Earlier last month the UVF had issued a statement in support of a local people who were protesting against the erection of the mast, which was reportedly being constructed by Hutchison 3G.

According to The Belfast Telegraph the UVF statement said that they would support the protestors in "whatever measures they feel they must take to prevent the erection of the mast."

It's not yet clear whether a replacement mast will be erected at the site, but the Ballymena Council discussed the issue on Thursday night.

The mast destroyed at Dungannon belonged to Northern Ireland Electricity, which said the attack had also endangered local electricity supplies.

For a round-up of the latest on ISPs, broadband and related issues, see the Telecoms News Section.

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