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RTE's mast could receive special status

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 TV3 uses RTE's signal technology

TV3 uses RTE's signal technology

TV3 uses RTE's signal technology

A NEW era could be ahead for RTE's iconic mast that dominates the Dublin 4 skyline.

The national broadcaster said it hasn't ruled out making an application for 'protection status' for the 110-metre-tall structure in its Donnybrook campus in Donnybrook.

This is a designation usually reserved for monuments and buildings designated as being of historical significance.

While "no application" has been made to Dublin City Council for special status, a spokeswoman said a decision to do so might be made at a later stage.

"The mast in Donnybrook will remain an integral part of our infrastructure," she said.

The relevance and function of the giant mast is continuing to change with the growth of new broadcasting technologies.

An example was the switching off of the station's analogue service in October 2012.

It is part of the network owned by 2RN, a subsidiary company of RTE, which is responsible for the broadcaster's transmission network.

Any addition to the country's list of protected structures in Dublin must be made by way of public consultation and resolution by the city council.

A proposal to secure this status must also satisfy a number of strict criteria.

Labour party councillor Dermot Lacey said he would now encourage RTE to make an application to the Council for the mast to be specially protected for the future, regardless of how broadcast engineering will change.

"I already submitted a motion asking for it to be placed on a list of protected structures, and I'd be happy to do so again. If it can be achieved, then it's worth doing.

SYMBOLIC

"We don't honour our industrial heritage very well in Ireland. The mast is symbolic of the modernising of Ireland – and is one of the most identifiable industrial pieces of infrastructure in the south Dublin area."

The council has a list of almost 9,000 protected structures.

These are all considered to be of special interest from an architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical point of view.

"Any application would be considered on its merits," a council spokeswoman said.

hnews@herald.ie