Stephen O’Brien appointed Managing Director of Ireland businesses

Owners Ivan Holloway and Marco Lombardelli are delighted to announce that Stephen O’Brien has been appointed Managing Director of their Irish businesses. Stephen, who joined Global Rail Services Limited and GRA Networks Ireland as General Manager and Director of Telecoms respectively, has overseen a period of outstanding growth.

This is even more impressive, as much of his tenure to date has been following the aftermath of a global pandemic, where his resilience, dedication and innovative approaches have enhanced the businesses and delivered fantastic results, with the help and support of his Senior Leadership and the wider team in Ireland. The companies are highly regarded by clients as respected rail and infrastructure and telecoms contracting entities.

Stephen has three decades of experience in the management and delivery of projects for the construction and professional services industries, previously holding senior management positions at Morrison Telecom Services and Obelisk. With an MBA and degrees in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering from Trinity College, Dublin and UCD respectively, Stephen is a professionally affiliated leader, holding memberships of both the Irish Management Institute (MIMI) and the Institute of Engineers of Ireland (MIEI).

Stephen commented on this news, saying:
“I’m proud to have become the Managing Director of both Global Rail Services Limited and GRA Networks Ireland and will continue to do my best to ensure the businesses remain successful, innovative, and great places to work. I am also grateful to my entire team in Ireland for their support. Your skills, wisdom, and experience has been a vital ingredient to our successes.”

Ivan Holloway, Part Owner of the Global Infrastructure Group of Companies added:
“I’m delighted that Stephen will be taking on the role of MD for our Irish businesses. He’s done a fantastic job of improving performance of the businesses and has proven to be an excellent leader. We’ve found the ideal person to take our interests forward and support the long-term objectives of the shareholders.”

Mast and Tower Maintenance Program Completed for Irish Rail

GRA Networks Ireland as a multi-disciplined provider of telecoms contracting services including design, construction, installation, commissioning and maintenance of both fixed line and mobile communications networks has successfully completed its latest telecoms contract with Irish Rail.

The 4-year Mast and Tower Services program for Iarnrod Eireann included the provision of maintenance services for 140No radio and 140No CCTV masts and towers including climbable, cantilever and fixed masts and towers on their rail infrastructure.

GRA Networks provided a fully managed service completing all necessary site surveys, providing certification, structural wind analysis, providing full photographic records, labelling of assets, and supplying supporting handover documentation for the maintenance of Irish Rail’s Asset Management System. 

The detailed scope of works on the masts and towers covered emergency callout rigging support throughout and included:

  • Maintenance inspections and issue of “safe to climb” certification where required
  • Removal of Fall Arrest Systems
  • Removal of Redundant Towers and Associated Infrastructure
  • Installation, Repair and/or Removal of GSM-R & MW Link Equipment
  • Structural Climbdowns and Structural Certification
  • Labelling of Antenna System
  • Provision of Rigging Services
  • Minor Repairs/Remedial Works

GRA Networks Ireland’s team of highly skilled telecommunications professionals includes project managers, telecommunications engineers, telecommunications riggers, fibre splicers, electricians, and technicians. The range of services on offer include:

  • 3G, 4G and 5G equipment installation and commissioning
  • IBC and DAS systems installation and commissioning
  • ‘Green Field’ builds
  • Wi-Fi network installation and commissioning
  • Transmission links installation and commissioning
  • Earthing systems installation and testing
  • Fibre and copper networks distribution and transmission networks
  • Tower construction, retrofit, maintenance and inspection
  • Condition surveying and reporting
  • 24/7 Emergency response
  • Operation and maintenance services
  • Consultancy services

Rosslare Europort Tower Remedial Works Completed

GRA Networks Ireland has completed a series of tower remedial works at the Rosslare Europort Terminal for Irish Rail.

GRA Networks Ireland were initially engaged to survey five existing towers at the terminal. Surveys and climbdowns were carried out to determine the general condition of each tower and to identify remedial works that should be undertaken to preserve the longevity of each tower. 

During the survey, towers 2 and 5 were found to have excessive corrosion and would likely require a major intervention, or be replaced with new tower structures. 

Towers 1, 3 and 4 were found to have medium levels of corrosion, however would require bolt replacement, descaling, painting and earthing.

GRA Networks Ireland used Jotamastic 90 as the paint coating, specially designed for areas where optimum surface preparation is not possible. The paint provides long lasting protection in environments with high corrosivity such as Rosslare Europort with a high level of exposure to weather conditions and the proximity of the towers to the sea.

The remedial works to towers 1, 3 and 5 were successfully completed and delivered to meet the outcomes of Irish Rail and the Rosslare Europort Terminal.

Four Year Mast and Tower Maintenance and Inspection Services Award

GRA Networks is delighted to announce that it has been awarded a four-year, multi-million euro contract with Iarnrod Eireann for the provision of maintenance services for approximately 204No radio masts, monopoles, and towers and 200No CCTV masts and towers including climbable, cantilever and fixed on the Irish Rail Network. 

The program also includes the rigging and cabling services to install GSM-R antennas and equipment on new towers and monopoles on the rail network.

Irish Rail were impressed with GRA Networks Ireland, considering that the company demonstrated a full understanding of the duties and procedures of a contractor working rail side and who could combine an end-to-end service for the SE&T department. 

GRA Networks Ireland has a previous track record of delivering competitive rigging maintenance services for Irish Rail and has also delivered extensive civil engineering and M&E projects for the Chief Engineers office. 

The team at GRA Networks Ireland also offer a dedicated, in-house structural engineering team and to support the understanding and subsequent analysis of the towers and masts that underpinned 3rd party mobile and wireless broadband rollout programs on Irish Rail network.

GRA Networks will provide a fully project managed service including health and safety management covering the following items of work:

  • Site Surveys
  • Maintenance inspections and issue of “safe to climb” certification where required
  • Structural and Wind-loading Analysis
  • Earthing/Lightning Protection Systems installation and testing
  • Removal of Fall Arrest Systems
  • Re-instatement of Fall Arrest Systems where required
  • Installation, Repair and or Removal of Equipment on the towers and masts
  • Tower Climbdown and Checklist completion
  • Mast Structure Certification
  • Provide an Asset Management System
  • Provision of Rigging Services
  • Removal of redundant Towers and Masts
  • Provide a Re-Bolt procedure where required
  • Minor Repairs/Remedial Works
  • Emergency Callout Rigging Support

GRA Networks Ireland Delivers Abseiling Excellence

GRA Networks Ireland has completed abseiling contracts for three clients – namely Iarnrod Eireann, Imagine Networks and Vodafone. The company uses IRATA trained operatives to deliver this work.

Iarnrod Eireann – Drogheda Viaduct

Iarnrod Eireann required abseilers to install LED systems on Drogheda Viaduct. GRA Networks Ireland completed these works at night with a River Rescue boat in place for emergency recovery. Heavy LED lights were installed below the bridge which could only be done using an abseiling technique with the use of ropes. GRA then completed a second visit to replace faulty lights with the same scenario for a rescue boat. Faulty lights removed and hauled up to the top of bridge.  New light lowered and installed. All works done at night.

Iarnrod Eireann – Drogheda Viaduct

GRA Networks supplied abseilers to complete the successful installation of a new lighting system on Athlone Railway Bridge for Irish Rail.  Structural steel on the bridge was assessed for suitability prior to carrying out the works on a live railway during night-time hours under track possession.  GRA Networks Ireland liaised closely with Irish Rail and Waterways Ireland to complete the works. A rescue boat was in place on the River Shannon for the duration of the works.

Vodafone Ireland – Minch Norton

Vodafone contracted the GRA Networks Ireland team to install Antennaes and RRU’s at the Minch Norton grain silo site. GRA were required to rig and abseil off the side of a grain silo building to install Vodafone antennas and RRU. 

To accomplish this, GRA Networks installed stand-off steelwork on the side of building and created a safe work/drop zone below all works areas to ensure the wellbeing of staff and satisfactory completion.

Imagine Networks – Royal Hotel Bray

Imagine Networks engaged the GRA team in Ireland for the decommissioning of an antenna, RRU and cabling from the side of the Royal Bray Hotel building. A secure drop zone was initially erected below the area of the hotel. The area was very busy, so pedestrians were re-routed during the works. All works completed safely and efficiently and with minimal disruption to hotel.

Imagine Networks – RTE Donnybrook

Imagine required GRA Networks Ireland’s abseiling team to decommission and remove all antennas, cable management and cables from the Donnybrook Tower. All Imagine equipment was located 60 meters from ground level. GRA Networks set up the site and delivered an abseil solution that met the requirements without incident or accident and to meet the desired program.

GRA Networks Ireland deliver abseiling projects across a diverse range of industries. We offer a safe, secure, and competitive service, with a commitment to technical excellence and our worldwide reputation in telecoms contracting, we can work with clients to develop bespoke rope solutions that meet every requirement.

Imagine 4G Rollout

GRA Networks Ireland has been awarded and successfully completed a 3-year, major 4G rollout project for Imagine Telecom between 2018 and 2021.

This multi-million euro, fully managed project involves the 4G upgrade of equipment on new and existing sites throughout the 26 counties in Ireland. GRA Networks were contracted to deliver a managed service including initial site condition surveys and reporting, providing all necessary materials and logistics management and QA audit and handover at each location. 

The project required telecoms rigging (copper feeders and Fibre/RRU solutions), maintenance and remedial works, Installation, commissioning, and integration. During the project GRA Networks Ireland provided a 24/7 emergency response service. The full scope included:

• 4G equipment installation, commissioning, and integration
• Transmission microwave links installation and commissioning
• Earthing systems & feeder installation and testing
• Copper/fibre/coaxial networks
• SDH backbone – installation and upgrade
• Tower construction, retro fit, maintenance, and inspection
• Cabinet installations
• In conduit installation
• Operations and maintenance services
• Fibre Transmission Services

Climbdown and Maintenance Project – Irish Aviation Authority

GRA Networks Ireland has successfully completed climbdowns and maintenance on several Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) telecoms structures in January 2022.

The works undertaken cover maintenance and repairs on IAA site compounds incorporating site activities including weeding, painting, fence repairs, building repairs and resolving access issues.

As the sites were near airports and aircraft, GRA Networks Ireland’s experienced team completed the necessary site access forms and method statements for IAA’s approval. Access and supervision were then arranged by IAA – the supervision required due to the dangers imposed by the working environment.

These fully managed sites included the following delivery activities by GRA Networks Ireland:

• Project and health and safety management
• Maintenance and repairs
• Earthing and lightning protection system installation and testing
• Certification of equipment on the tower
• Inspection and climbdown including torque tests
• Reporting any installation issues/snags 
• Site maintenance completion documents
• Site compound maintenance and repair

Twin Pole Install at Mount Gabriel

GRA Networks Ireland has completed a telecoms tower build on behalf of the Irish Aviation Authority, Shannon. The fully managed, site build covered all necessary groundworks, foundations and included design and build of the twin timber stayed poles and an VHF antennae installation and commissioning.

The project required GRA Networks to undertake the initial condition surveying and reporting, provide materials management and logistics services and undertake a full QA audit and handover. The full scope included:

  • Excavations
  • Foundations
  • Concrete works
  • Design of the stayed pole
  • VHF antenna installation
  • Earthing systems installation and testing
  • 2No 15m AGL Poles erected on site
  • Feeder installation
  • Cabinet installation
  • Installation of Eltek Main Remote in the telecoms equipment room plus associated electrical works

From the Board of The Global Infrastructure Group of Companies

In these extremely challenging times, both Ivan and I would like to share our heartfelt support and solidarity with you and your families. At Global, the health and safety of our worldwide colleagues, customers, partners and the communities in which we serve is our number one priority. We have a legacy of responsible business and we are committed to doing all that we can to keep everyone safe and healthy, every day.

We are extremely proud of and grateful to all our committed teams who deliver every day to ensure business continuity. We have been taking strict precautions to protect them and their families, while maintaining customer service. Many of our rail, telecoms and construction works and of course our 24/7 emergency crews are essential, as we play an important part in maintaining and enhancing critical infrastructure. As a result, we have made extensive contingency plans to secure our supply chain and ongoing business. We are following the advice of all governments and public health authorities, and have proactively implemented a range of precautionary measures, from stringent sanitation and cleaning protocols, to workplace distancing, and a worldwide travel ban, by putting our people first.

Team GIG, thank you for your continued endeavour and trust and please do stay safe.

Best Regards,

Marco and Ivan

ISO Update for UK and Ireland

Our Irish and UK businesses have successfully completed re-certification audits of their respective company Health, Safety and Quality Management systems.

Both Global Rail Services Limited (Ireland) and Global Rail Construction Limited (UK) included a challenging migration audit from OHSAS 18001 to the new Occupational Health and Safety Standard ISO 45001:2018.

Global Rail Services also successfully completed an audit of their ISO 9001:2015, which provides continuation of their ISO 9001 certification.

The Irish audits also covers the projects of GRA Networks Ireland – our Irish Telecoms Division.

Both UK and Irish businesses received no non-compliances – a fantastic achievement.

Our Global Family in Australia – Global Rail Australia Pty Limited and GRA Networks Australia – are just commencing the same migration process and we hope to report their progression very soon.

Co-Owner Marco Lombardelli added:

“Thanks to everyone involved for your continued support of our countrywide management systems, and a special mention to those of you who were directly involved in the audits conducted at our sites and respective Hatfield and Dublin offices.

“Your efforts are appreciated – keep up the good work.”