ONE of the worlds youngest female crane operators says blokes on site try and undermine her – but she couldn't care less.
Kate Fahey, 19, got the bug for the heady heights job after befriending an operator on her dad's building site one summer.
The teen sacked off college plans and got her crane licence in 2021, becoming Ireland's youngest ever operator.
But she admits life ten hours-a-day 130ft above the ground hasn't always been easy.
Kate, from County Galway, said: "The first time I climbed up the ladder for the crane, all the lads were saying how I was underestimating it and that I'll have a panic attack when I get too high up.
"There have been times where new lads have started on site and it's like they've never seen a crane before with how much they stare.
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"It can be tough, not only being the only female on site but also being the youngest, people tend to undermine me."
Kate recalled a frustrating interaction with a "shocked" delivery driver who repeatedly questioned whether she was qualified to operate the crane.
"I brushed it off as you have to have a backbone", she said.
And she's not afraid of heights either, saying how she was blown away by the view once up there.
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And while the best part of life on site is the banter, Kate says there are days when it gets to you.
She explained: "If you don't have a love for the job you won't last.
"I love it, and you get to work with so many unique people.
"I couldn't think of anything else I wanted to do more than work on site."
Kate now urges anyone, boys and girls, to jump right in if they have an urge to do construction.
She explained: "I received messages about my career, from girls and guys, because becoming a crane operator isn't something that has a clear pathway like university or an apprenticeship, you sort of just fall into it as I did.
"I've not heard back from all of them but I know two are now qualified so it's lovely to feel like I've inspired some people."
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