*Cllr Pat McMahon (FF), Cathaoirleach of the Shannon MD. Photograph: Eamon Ward

Clare’s second longest serving councillor has been elected Cathaoirleach of the Shannon Municipal District.

At Tuesday’s AGM of the Shannon MD, Cllr Pat McMahon (FF) was elected as successor to Cllr Gerry Flynn (IND). Cllr John Crowe will take on the role of Leas Cathaoirleach.

A native of Newmarket-on-Fergus, McMahon’s “vast knowledge and experience” was referenced by Cllr PJ Ryan (IND) in proposing his colleague. “He is great to give advice and a great character,” Cllr Crowe commented.

Outgoing Cathaoirleach Cllr Flynn described the AGM of the County Council a day earlier as “a circus”. He told the meeting he handed the chain of office to be cleaned in advice of their AGM so that Cllr McMahon could safely take on the chain. He expressed his confidence that his successor would make the team of councillors even stronger for the year ahead.

“It is always a great honour no matter what stage in life to be selected by your peers. It is a great honour and I do appreciate it,” Cllr McMahon stated.

Now 46 years since he was co-opted to the County Council following the sudden death of his father Andy, Pat has been one of the most vocal local representatives on the topic of Shannon Airport. Unsurprisingly it was a subject he spoke about when addressing the meeting in acknowledging “a huge challenge” that lay before the Municipal District.

There is “a major spotlight” on Shannon Group at present, he noted. Pat believed Shannon Airport was “in hard luck” with three new routes announced last year currently grounded as a result of COVID-19.

McMahon predicted, “Within a year and a half or two years we will come out of this challenge and go back to something that we were used to. It is a changed world, it is not easily fixed. The products we have in the aviation industry, every country in the world is affected”.

2020 is the year for people to visit Co Clare according to Cllr McMahon who called on Minister for Tourism, Catherine Martin (GP) to change the decision of Shannon Group to close Bunratty Castle and Folk Park for the majority of the year. “There will never be a better opportunity to see our beautiful county”.

His son’s wedding was also mentioned during his opening address as his now daughter-in-law brought 70 to 80 friends from Manchester to Co Clare for the wedding, “most of them had never been to Ireland and they were astounded with all the tourism attractions we had”.

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