Shannon Heritage funding

Contrary to what the Taoiseach told me yesterday about the proposed transfer of Shannon Heritage sites to Clare County Council: “the Minister is working on this with all the stakeholders to try to get this resolved”, Councillors were told this morning that the Council was informed on Budget Day that the required funding was being refused. This is no way to treat the workers there.

New Chair of Shannon Group plc to be announced shortly

Clare Independent TD Michael McNamara says the appointment of a new Chair of Shannon Group plc has reached its final stages.

In response to Deputy McNamara’s Parliamentary Question on the role, which has remained unfilled since August 2020, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan confirmed that he and Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton met with the candidates shortlisted via the Public Appointments Service (PAS) process last week.

“In line with normal arrangements for the appointment of Chairs to State Boards, the Chair designate will be required to appear before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications before being formally appointed as Chair of Shannon Group,” added Minister Ryan.

Deputy McNamara has urged the Department to “proceed without delay” due to the significance of the role.

“It is critically important that the successful candidate be someone with the experience to provide strategic direction to Shannon Group plc’s aviation and property businesses, as well as the proposed transfer of Clare-based Shannon Heritage tourism assets to Clare County Council,” added Deputy McNamara.

Clare FM – Transfer of Shannon Heritage sites to Council

Speaking on Clare FM I said important details still need to be ironed out in relation to the proposed transfer of Shannon Heritage sites to Clare County Council.

Calls are being made for a government commitment to short-term funding for the sites and for the council to stipulate that future coach contracts to tourist attraction would require an overnight stay in the county.

Shannon Heritage extension of opening

Failte Ireland today confirmed the “summer” tourist season will be extended. Shannon Heritage needs to review its opening schedule urgently also in view of anticipated supports. Craggaunowen, Knappogue Castle & Walled Garden and Dungaire Castle need to open and all Shannon Heritage attractions in the Midwest, including Bunratty Castle & Folk Park and King John’s Castle need to remain open beyond the end of August.

Extend opening of Shannon Heritage sites

In the Dáil today, I questioned Heritage Minister Josepha Madigan about the decision of Shannon Group to close its Shannon Heritage sites in the Mid-West from the end of August whilst keeping its Dublin sites open. To treat OUR heritage in that manner is disgraceful. Having met staff at the weekend, I will be meeting with management at Shannon Group to request them to reconsider the decision to close all its sites in Clare, Limerick and Galway from the end of August.

Shannon Heritage sites and Aer Lingus workers at Shannon Airport

In the Dáil, I questioned Minister Ross on why Shannon Heritage managed tourist sites in the Dublin region would remain open as Bunratty Castle, Craggaunowen, Knappogue, Dunguaire Castle and King John’s Castle close from the end of August. I also requested Minister Ross to use the influence of Government to seek to have Aer Lingus reverse its discriminatory treatment of its long serving Shannon based staff.