“We’re always looking for innovative ways to do things”
Having grown up and lived in the Sperrins her whole life, Oonagh McKenna is passionate about the area and creating a positive legacy for future generations.
When Oonagh joined Dalradian six years ago it was in a community relations role that occasionally gave her the chance to provide environmental education, but that’s evolved over time. She now works as a Sustainability and Community Relations Officer.
This has given her the opportunity to pursue her passion for the environment while helping support her local community. Oonagh assists with the company’s sustainability plans, ensuring that Dalradian is a Carbon Neutral Plus company.
Passion for the environment
“From a young age I was always interested in nature, in the seasons and how the environment around us changed constantly. That interest led me to study sustainability at South West College; it’s great that I can now put that knowledge to good use in my day job.
“During my time with Dalradian I’ve seen close up how committed my colleagues and the company are to taking care of the environment. I know the work that is being done on a daily basis to make sure this project is environmentally responsible.
“Since 2019 I have been helping minimise our carbon emissions. Modern mining is incredibly hi-tech already, but the opportunities to use ever-more carbon neutral equipment is growing constantly – it’s a very exciting time to be developing a new mine. We’ve already switched to renewable electricity, have changed how our offices are lit and have introduced our first electric vehicle. That’s just the start, however, we’re always looking for innovative ways to do things.”
Opportunity for the Sperrins
As a Sperrins native, Oonagh is clear about the benefits that the underground mine will provide.
“The mine will bring massive opportunities to the community in the Sperrins. Life here can be idyllic, but I’ve noticed over the years that as people have left to find work, local services have come under threat. The mine will mean more money spent locally which will help protect local services – something which will benefit the whole community.
“The underground mine will provide long-term, quality jobs for local people who are used to travelling further afield to earn a decent wage. Many of those rising early for the trip to Dublin or Belfast are part-time farmers who can’t give their farm, or families, as much attention as they’d like.
“The mine, however, will provide 350 well paid jobs at nearly twice the Northern Ireland average salary. That means fewer long journeys and a better quality of life for workers and their families.”