Northern Ireland news

Co Down woman making waves as new Kilkeel harbour master

New Kilkeel harbour master Danielle Rooney. Picture by Mark Marlow

FROM saving lives to helping keep the coastal community safe, a Co Down woman is making waves after being appointed harbour master in Kilkeel.

Danielle Rooney (28) from Ballymartin said it was her "dream job" after officially taking up the role last week.

Responsible for enforcing regulations of Kilkeel harbour to ensure the safety of navigation, she is no stranger to the water.

The mother-of-two is also a scuba diver and station officer for Kilkeel Coastguard.

Away from her maritime commitments, she is a senior footballer for Ballymartin GAC.

While Ms Rooney officially took up her post of harbour master this month, she has been at the helm since October when she took over from Michael Young, who moved to Carlingford Harbour.

She is believed to be the first female to take up such a post within Northern Ireland Fisheries Harbour Authority.

"I always grew up around the harbour, so it's great to be working here," she said.

"I started in the Northern Ireland Fisheries Harbour Authority as a foreperson and I also work for the coastguard as a station coastguard so I'm on call 24/7.

"My role as harbour master means that I am the person responsible for keeping the harbour safe, tidy and workable.

"Safety is a big priority for me so combining that with my great passion for the water hopefully will bring success for the harbour.

"I have a very supportive team and the fishermen are great."

Asked about how she feels to be one of the first women to be appointed to such a role, she said she "just gets on with things, I love the job".

Her new position has also won the support of her team-mates and coaches at Ballymartin GAC.

In a message of good wishes, it said "all our members would like to congratulate our senior ladies footballer Danielle Rooney on her new position as harbour master of Kilkeel".

"As team goalkeeper, she was used to keeping the ball out of the net for the whites, pivotal to the team's recent intermediate championship win.

"In her role with the coastguard, she was saving lives and helping keep our coastal community safe.

"Kilkeel harbour master is a highly prestigious post and we are very, very proud and delighted for Danielle."

Danielle Rooney hails from Ballymartin. Picture by Mark Marlow

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