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Phone mast arson 'will stop calls to emergency services'

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A fire-damaged 5G mast in Dagenham in England

A fire-damaged 5G mast in Dagenham in England

PA

A fire-damaged 5G mast in Dagenham in England

Vandalising mobile phone masts due to a conspiracy theory that 5G technology is linked to coronavirus will mean some people can't contact the emergency services, the Government has warned.

Senior Department of the Taoiseach official Liz Canavan made the remarks in the wake of a suspected arson attack on a mast in Letterkenny, Co Donegal.

The incident is suspected to be related to the spate of online rumours being circulated linking coronavirus to 5G.

She said mobile phone infrastructure was "vital to society" especially at a time when people were being advised to stay at home.

"Vandalising mobile phone mast infrastructure will stop masts from carrying mobile call and data services, at a time when people are relying on those critical services," Ms Canavan said.

Rumours

"Some people will be unable to contact emergency services and the gardai."

She added: "There is absolutely no truth to the rumours of a link between Covid-19 and 5G and this has been confirmed by the European Commission and the World Health Organisation (WHO) among others."

She asked people to "ignore misinformation".

The Herald reported yesterday that gardai were investigating a suspected arson attack at a mobile mast site in Letterkenny on Sunday night in which two fires were lit.

An Eir spokesman said the masts did not have 5G capability. Both fires were extinguished by the fire service and no injuries were reported.

Another 20 suspected arson attacks against phone masts occurred over the Easter weekend in England.

Nick Jeffery, chief executive of Vodafone, said: "Burning down masts means families not being able to say a final goodbye to loved ones; hard-working doctors, nurses and police officers not being able to phone their kids."