This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 17 °C Sunday 31 May, 2020
Advertisement

Three Ireland boss sought minister's support in dispelling 'dangerous misinformation' on 5G

Three said that the actions of a “small minority” around “completely baseless” fears must be addressed by the State.

Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

THE CEO OF mobile network Three Ireland wrote to the Minister of Communications last month to seek his assistance in tackling the “dangerous misinformation” being spread about 5G. 

Robert Finnegan told Minister Richard Bruton he wanted his support to “publicly dispel” concerns linking Covid-19 and 5G networks.

In the letter, seen by TheJournal.ie, he also sought help on the “greater concern” of criminal damage to communication masts in Ireland and added that Three engineers have been told to check in with local gardaí before visiting any site.

The criminal damage referred to took place in Donegal last month. Gardaí believe the masts, which provide 3G and 4G internet coverage to nearby Letterkenny Hospital, were set on fire deliberately. 

It’s believed locally that the masts were targeted as part of a conspiracy theory linking the rollout of 5G technology with the growth of Covid-19 across the globe. 5G stands for fifth generation, the latest generation of cellular mobile communication, which offers vastly higher speeds than 4G.

One strand of theorists suggest that 5G suppresses the immune system and makes people more susceptible to catching Covid-19. Another strand argues that Covid-19 can be transmitted via 5G technology.

Experts have dismissed any links between 5G and Covid-19. While there have been no shortage of claims linking the new mobile technology to coroanvirus, many others have thankfully debunked such claims.

Other claims of adverse effects of 5G have been widely debunked by scientists. 

In a letter on Friday 17 April, Three CEO Robert Finnegan wrote to the minister and warned that the misinformation could have a long-term negative impact on “Ireland’s ability to be a leader in 5G technology”. 

He said: “I am writing to seek your support to publicly dispel unfounded concerns and misinformation surrounding the linking of Covid-19 and 5G mobile networks.

As you know, recent theories falsely connecting 5G to the spread of Covid-19 have been circulating on Irish social media platforms. There is absolutely no basis for these claims which add unnecessarily to public anxiety about health and safety, undermine the clear health guidance given by government relating to Covid-19 and is damaging to the businesses that rely on our services.

Finnegan said that the recent vandalism in Ireland was of “even greater concern” following similar incidents in the UK and Europe. 

In April, The Guardian reported that over 40 cases in the UK had been reported where mobile phone masts were targeted by arsonists. 

The Three CEO said: “We have instructed our teams to check in with local gardaí before visiting any site, as although their work is vital, the recent arson of phone masts in Donegal is concerning for us as an employer and as a service provider.

Fears around 5G masts are completely baseless and the actions of a small minority that are vandalising masts and disrupting services must be addressed by all agencies of the state.

Finnegan closes the letter with his direct appeal for Minister Bruton’s assistance in addressing 5G misinformation. 

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

“I acknowledge that this issue was addressed in the officials’ briefing on Covid-19 on 14 April,” he said.

“I would ask that further opportunities are taken to counter the dangerous misinformation being spread. It might also be useful if respected and expert agencies like the HSE and EPA take a more proactive role in providing factual information and reassurance.  I would also be grateful if you could, through the Minister for Justice, urge the Gardai to focus on bringing those responsible for this criminal activity to justice. ”

In a statement to TheJournal.ie, a spokesperson for the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment said health authorities at home and abroad have advised of no link between coronavirus and 5G.

“The minister is aware of recent attacks on telecoms infrastructure and strongly condemns such actions,” the spokesperson said.

“The HSE are engaging with social media companies on the spread of disinformation and Covid 19 more generally and will include the spread of 5G disinformation in this discussion.

Citizens are urged to ignore misinformation circulating on social media and not to spread it further. Reputable information about Covid-19 can be found from official sources such as Gov.ie & the Health Service Executive.

The spokesperson added a response would be issued to Three Ireland shortly. 

With reporting from Stephen McDermott

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

Sean Murray

Read next:

COMMENTS (31)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel