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St Colm’s Pupils visit firmus energy River Foyle Project

Year 11 GCSE Construction class from St Colm’s High School, Draperstown were delighted to be invited to visit the site of the McCormack Drilling project on the bank of the River Foyle.

Maghera-based McCormack Drilling, has been working with leading natural gas company firmus energy and contractors Kier Group on the £3m River Foyle Crossing development in Derry~Londonderry, the largest drilling project to be undertaken on the island of Ireland.

The Year 11 GCSE Construction class pupils were given a tour of the site which was led by local men Greg & Martin McCormack of McCormack Drilling, who are also past pupils of St Colm’s High School. They provided pupils the opportunity to see some of the equipment being used to bring gas beneath the River Foyle. Students were also given the opportunity to ask questions about potential future careers in engineering and what subject choices they should make if they want to pursue a career in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths (STEM) role.

Commenting on the project, Greg McCormack, McCormack Drilling, said:

“It is important that local pupils are aware of the wide range of career opportunities available to them. It was fantastic seeing the excitement of the pupils when they saw how big some of the equipment is, and they took the opportunity to grill the engineers with some difficult questions about the project.”

Mrs McKenna, Principal of St Colm’s accompanied the pupils on their site visit:

“This was a marvellous opportunity for the pupils of St. Colm’s to experience the workings of such an immense scale project. Learning outside the classroom greatly enhances the learning inside the classroom. The pupils thoroughly enjoyed the visit and found it very relevant to their Construction studies."

firmus energy invited local stakeholders, including media, elected representatives, school pupils and industry colleagues to visit the site to hear first-hand of the benefits this project will bring to the local economy, including local job creation throughout the construction phase.

firmus energy currently services 10,541 customers in the Derry~Londonderry area. The 355mm diameter, 660m long, 2” thick wall polyethylene (PE) gas main will be installed beneath the River Foyle from Strathfoyle to Culmore Road at the Old Thornhill College site.

Using a 50 tonne drilling machine, the work is being carried out by local, specialist drilling contractor, McCormack Drilling. Since beginning the work, they have drilled through rock 25m under the riverbed and 20m under the Derry~Londonderry to Coleraine railway line.

Peter McCormack & Sons Ltd (McCormack Drilling) have been servicing the utility industry since the early 1990’s. Founded by Peter McCormack over 50 years ago as an agricultural contracting business the company, now run by his family, has become one of the UK & Ireland’s largest installers of trenchless underground services.


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