Irish workers now play key role in building 9/11 Freedom Tower
Ten years after 9/11 the Irish help rebuild America's hope
Scores of Irish construction workers are being hired to help rebuild at the Ground Zero site, reports the Irish Independent.
Willie O'Donnell, a 40-year-old worker from Listowel, Co Kerry, has been on the site for two-and-a-half years.
"It's definitely a privilege to work here," said O'Donnell, who works for Navillus, a Kerry company responsible for much of the concrete work at the new Memorial Plaza and 9/11 Museum.
"The first day you start here, you remember 9/11, where you were and everything like that.
"But you just work away and it becomes just a regular, pain-in-the-ass job!"
O'Donnell was working on nearby Canal Street the day the Twin Towers fell and saw the buildings crumble. Now, he's helping to rebuild the site the giant buildings once stood on.
Several of his fellow workers were also witness to the attacks.
Jimmy O'Sullivan, 47, from Dunmanway, Co Cork, was working on a high-rise on 47th Street in midtown Manhattan, when the first plane flew over their heads.
"It's great to be building it back up again. It's something that you feel honoured to be involved in," he said.
Mike Carmody, 37, from Tarbert, Co Kerry, was working on a building project across the river in Queens, and Michael Deere, 43, a carpenter from Pallasgreen, Co Limerick, was working underground across the bridge in Brooklyn on the day of the attacks.
Deere said that when he emerged above ground, a cloud of smoke was hanging over Lower Manhattan.
Working alongside Deere with Bovis, the general contractors for the Memorial Plaza and Museum, is Niall Marshall, 31, from Birr, Co Offaly.
"I am very proud of being here," said Marshall. "A lot of American people look at this as something great -- a rebuilding that's going to bring everyone back together."
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