*SOS Chairman speaking at a rally held in July. Photograph: Eamon Ward

“A CLEAN SWEEP” is needed of the board of Shannon Group plc in order to drive Shannon Airport forward, the Chairman of Save our Shannon has declared.

The Clare Echo understands that relations between Board members including past officials and Pádraig Ó Céidigh led to his departure from the role of Shannon Group Chairman after just six months.

Conal Henry’s swift appointment as his successor indicates that levels of Ó Céidigh’s discontent were known at Government level with the former Aer Arann CEO and founder’s absence from a special launch on the resumption of transatlantic services from Shannon Airport also notable.

Denis Vaughan, Chairman of Save our Shannon has described Ó Céidigh’s exit as a “debacle” which “clearly demonstrates that a complete and necessary review is required. It has shone a light on a dysfunctional system of appointment, one that was distinctly unsuitable and incapable of comprehending the seriousness of the issues facing Shannon. In its own perverse way the collapse of the Ó Céidigh’s appointment has fortunately focused attention of the real issues”.

Vaughan stated that political parties are “part of the problem” and therefore argued that the Public Services Appointments mechanism to fill such vacancies should be avoided. “The PSA has now clearly proven its unsuitability. By its very nature it is constrained by politics and self-interest”.

According to the Ennistymon man, a new post should be created for an Executive Chairman of Shannon Group with a three year renewable contract and he referenced the late Dr Brendan O’Regan as an example of a previous Executive Chairman. “The world aviation industry is well populated with Irish trained executives who only got their positions because they were well regarded and qualified. Therefore it’s not acceptable that Ireland cannot attract such people. It is a full-time function allowing the holder to give their undivided attention to the job. An Executive Chairman will avoid wasting time on mundane issue that interfere with the primary role. This Executive Chairman title sends out a clear and important message about the position”.

“A clean sweep will open the Executive Chairman appointment to a whole range of private sector applicants. The old way of doing things has obviously failed Shannon. “Only for the Ó Céidigh banana skin we were about to have another five years of the same-old same-old. One rarely gets a second chance. It won’t happen again. Otherwise Shannon is destined to spend another five years in limbo and further undermine its diminishing prospects. Shannon is vital to the Mid-West and no expense must be spared, a one day a month Chairman with a paltry salary is not acceptable, we need a fulltime executive Chairman with passion and vision,” Vaughan added.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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