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Working lives

Your Career

Matt O'Reilly, 41, is the community and public relations manager for joint venture contractor Nishimatsu Mowlem Irishenco on the Dublin Port Tunnel.

Route to the job With a diploma from Bolton Street in Dublin and a BSc (Hons) from Nottingham Trent University, after working in Dublin I went to the UK in the late 1980s to work in the UK construction boom. I worked mostly with Mowlem Southern Civil Engineering, gaining experience in site and project management and procurement.

Expectations I was always interested in the business side of construction but promised myself that before the age of 40 I would try something different. My chance came on the Dublin Port Tunnel with an opportunity to do PR and community relations work. The 5.6km motorway has 2.6km bored tunnel and 1.9km cut and cover, impacting on a large number of residents, businesses and road users.

Reality I worked with Dublin Corporation for about three months at the enabling stage of the works, giving me a good grounding in the history of the job, local residents' objections and the environmental impact statement. This was invaluable in learning the need for maintaining good relations with the community and businesses, identified by Dublin Corporation as essential, and specified clearly in the tender documents.

We inform the public about the upcoming construction operations, and reassure residents about measures to prevent damage to their properties. We hold meetings with residents' representatives, information evenings and run a 24 hour information hotline. We also have a minibus to bring residents to our project display room.

One-to-one visits can be arranged for worried householders, and literature encourages people to contact us so we can answer queries or mitigate against nuisance which may be caused by our construction activities. We also produce local information in advance of work operations, and provide information for the project web page and local and national media.

Advice I studied marketing techniques and philosophy, giving me a good understanding of human nature and business, which helps in a PR or community relations role like this.

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