IQ saddened to report the passing of Pat O’Connor, chairman of the Northern Ireland branch
THE Institute of Quarrying (IQ) was saddened by the sudden death of Patrick O’Connor MIQ at his home on 10 December. Patrick (Pat) was the manager at Breedon Ireland’s Ballystockart Quarry, near Comber, Co. Down. Pat was a well-known figure in the Northern Ireland Quarry sector for more than 20 years. His career in quarrying started as an HGV driver for TH Moore (a Gibson Bros company). When the opportunity for promotion arose, he grabbed it with both hands, initially as foreman and progressing to quarry manager. Pat moved on to managerial roles with CEMEX before taking on the quarry manager’s position at Breedon’s Ballystockart Quarry, which he described as one of the highlights of his career. A visit to Ballystockart will show the dedication and professionalism with which Pat led the team there. He considered the local community and the environment to be a key part of this role, as evidenced by numerous school visits and extensive tree and shrub planting to complement ‘Pat’s Bees’.
Pat’s hard work was recognized at the recent Plant and Civil Engineer awards on 1 December, where Ballystockart received the ‘Quarry of the Year’ award and Pat’s service in the industry was honoured with a ‘Special Recognition’ award. It was with pride and gratitude that he accepted the role of IQ Northern Ireland branch vice-chair when asked by John Moore (Conexpo). His role as branch chair began in March 2022 and with his family looking on at the popular Stone Crushers Ball in October, he made his speech, noting it was a role he never imagined he could reach and one he described as ‘the pinnacle of his career’. Pat was laid to rest at St Mary’s Barr Cemetery in Newry, following a funeral mass at St John the Evangelist Church in Glenn. He is survived by his wife Ann, with whom the IQ’s continued thoughts and support remain.