The Mount Gabriel radar station on the Mizen Peninsula which had no military function and was bombed by the INLA is undergoing restoration.
At 407 meters high, Mount Gabriel on the Mizen Peninsula in County Cork overlooks Schull Harbour and Long Island Bay. Roaringwater Bay and its islands can also be seen from its peak, as can the Beara Peninsula and south Kerry.
It is also the site of two radar installations operated by the Department of Transport, which monitor civilian aircraft in Ireland’s upper air space.
Mount Gabriel made headlines in September 1982, when one of the two stations was bombed by the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA), following publication of a newspaper article which claimed that the installation was part of the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) radar system.
With a rebuilding programme underway, the Department of Transport is keen to stress that the site is operated by the Irish State, for civilian air traffic only. The press and television cameras were invited to the station for an information day.
Vincent Feehan, Chief Executive Officer of the Air Navigation Services Office at the Department of Communications says categorically that the Mount Gabriel station has no link with NATO or military involvement with other states.
He does think however that newspaper reports may have misled the public,
One would be entitled to think that there may be a connection between what appeared in the media and what happened here.
The European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, more commonly known as Eurocontrol, manages air traffic across European skies. Up to now it has been the owner of the Mount Gabriel installation under the 1960 Eurocontrol Convention.
This is scheduled to change with the ratification of a new convention during this year which means that,
All the Eurocontrol facilities in Ireland will be owned entirely by Ireland, and will be operated as they currently are, by Irish personnel.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 28 June 1984. The reporter is Tom MacSweeney.