The telecoms industry here has expressed disappointment at opposition to the rollout of 5G mobile technology from local authority representatives around the country.

Speaking at the Telecommunications Industry Ireland (TII) annual lunch, chairman Shay Walsh urged the government to takes steps to promote the service, which promises to dramatically increase the speed and capacity of data travelling over mobile networks in years to come.

"It is extremely disappointing that several county councils have passed motions opposing the rollout of 5G," said Mr Walsh, who is Managing Director of BT Ireland.

"We urge a prompt response to these concerns, however unwarranted. We recommend a ministerial letter to all county councils setting out the economic and social benefits of 5G and suggesting briefings to councillors by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) on the relevant scientific evidence."

Mr Walsh pointed out that in recent days, Cork County Council members asked for information and guidance on the available scientific evidence.

The TII chairman said the body was also recommending that an expert scientific panel be convened under the aegis of the EPA to monitor on an ongoing basis the standards regarding exposure to 5G.

In October councilors in Wicklow backed a motion opposing the rollout of 5G in the county.

Similar motions have also been passed in a number of other counties, including Clare, Leitrim, Clare, Wexford and Sligo.

Concerns centre on claims around possible health implications of the higher frequencies and mast concentrations associated with the technology.

Proponents of 5G claim, however, that there is no scientific evidence to prove it damages health.

At the beginning of the month, employers' group Ibec, to which TII is affiliated, wrote to Minister for Communications, Richard Bruton and Minister Eoghan Murphy, who is responsible for local government, to express concern about the information vacuum around the issue.

Both Vodafone and eir have now launched mobile services in a number of cities around the country, with towns quickly following.

Also at today's lunch, Shay Walsh called for the retention of the Government’s Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce, as he said it had provided a forum to engage with the relevant stakeholders in Government regarding barriers to the rollout of telecoms infrastructure.

"We urge retention of the taskforce, albeit with fewer but more strategic action points and with a primary focus on network construction and the introduction of new services," he said.