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Pilots over flying on a wing and a prayer

Written by: Staff
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DUBLIN, May 10 (Reuters) Irish Catholic priests illegally broadcasting Mass over the radio to housebound parishioners are suspected of creating a safety hazard for transaTlantic jets, officials said.

Irish communications regulator ComReg has spoken to three churches in central Ireland to warn them that their unlicensed transmission of daily and Sunday services might be creating problems for airliners as they flew overhead.

''I knew it was sort of a gray area but I didn't know we were breaking the law,'' Father Brendan Quinlan, a Dublin parish priest, told the Irish Independent yesterday.

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) said that pilots on transaTlantic flights have complained to air traffic control for more than a year of hearing static on their radios.

''We believe that (the Mass broadcasts) are possibly the source of the interference. I understand that ComReg are closing down the priests for want of a better term,'' IAA spokeswoman Lilian Cassin said.

Reuters RL BD1928

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