Northern Ireland

Gardai investigate 5G conspiracy link to Letterkenny fires

Fire brigade personnel extinguished the blaze at a telecommunications mast site in Letterkenny.
Fire brigade personnel extinguished the blaze at a telecommunications mast site in Letterkenny.

Gardai are investigating whether a suspected arson attack on a Letterkenny telecommunications mast site was connected to conspiracy theories linking the 5G network with coronavirus.

Boxes on two 50 ft masts at Long Lane and Dr McGinley Road were destroyed in the incident on Easter Sunday night.

It has subsequently been revealed that the masts were not 5G masts but were installed to upgrade existing 4G provision at the nearby Letterkenny university hospital.

The attack follows claims by conspiracy theorists that the new 5G network was helping the spread of the coronavirus. Conspiracy theories range from allegations that the network spreads Covid-19 to claims that it limits the body’s ability to fight Covid-19.

Read More: Eamonn Holmes criticised for 5G comments on This Morning

While the claims have been dismissed by the World Health Organisation, there have been attacks on 5G masts throughout Europe. A number of county councils in Ireland have also called for a stop to the rollout of 5G until all health concerns were addressed.

Letterkenny Garda detective inspector, Pat O’Donnell said officers were called to the scene between 8.30pm and 9.15pm on Easter Sunday. Detective Inspector O’Donnell said control boxes attached to the masts had been set on fire.

“The fire brigade attended and extinguished the fire in the control boxes. These are boxes that were positioned adjacent to the masts. Now these masts were incorrectly understood to be 5G masts; they’re actually broadband masts, providing service to the Meadowbank/Dr McGinley Road area in terms of broadband.

“A substantial amount of damage was caused,” he said.

Letterkenny Sinn Féin councillor, Gerry McMonagle said that while people had concerns about the rollout of 5G, no-one should take the law into their own hands. Mr McMonagle said the attacks on the Letterkenny masts were an act of vandalism.