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Councillors contacted over “critical comments” on Airport

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*Cllr Gerry Flynn. Photograph: Eamon Ward

An elected representative in Clare received correspondence from the Chairperson of Shannon Group outlining their disappointment with ongoing critical comments regarding Shannon Airport.

Cathaoirleach of the Shannon Municipal District, Cllr Gerry Flynn (IND) told last Monday’s meeting of Clare County Council he had been contacted by Rose Hynes, Chairperson of Shannon Group. “She is not happy with of the critical comments made by elected representatives at local and national level on Shannon Airport”.

“They should have resilience, they are in the public eye to be questioned. The political voices speaking on it are there with the full interests of Shannon Airport at heart,” Cathaoirleach of the Council, Cllr Cathal Crowe (FF) responded.

Chief Executive of the local authority, Pat Dowling stated, “As elected members, everybody here has the right to comment on public issues of relevance. What has been is on concerns on the future of the Airport, nothing more than that”. He outlined that they have ongoing engagement with Shannon Airport, Shannon Commercial Properties and Shannon Heritage. “We should have a real meaningful partnership,” Dowling said in reference to the lack of a Council representative on the board of Shannon Group, he confirmed he would be meeting with Shannon Group CEO Mary Considine in the near future.

Their discussion materialised when a motion by Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF) seeking the establishment of “a multi agency task force to provide an external support network and assist” Shannon Airport with future development and marketing. The Kilkee representative admitted to being shocked when now CEO Mary Considine said they hadn’t a budget to market during The Irish Open. He felt the German market were “pitch perfect for this county” and felt boosted connectivity at Shannon would see more visitors from Germany.

“We’ve always been positive in our efforts to improve the Airport. I hope and pray the new routes work, this is the fourth time the Paris route has been reinvigorated,” Cllr Pat McMahon (FF) said when seconding the motion. The long-standing Newmarket-on-Fergus councillor revealed that several parents with students going to university in Scotland are flying out of Dublin because Shannon “is too costly” in comparison.

Cllr PJ Ryan (IND) felt the local authority was being “ignored” by not having some representation on the board of Shannon Group. He blamed groups such as Dublin Chamber of Commerce who have “stymied” Shannon Airport since it’s separation from the daa. Cllr Roisin Garvey (GP) flagged that the requested taskforce would be reliant on engagement from Shannon Group.

Newmarket-on-Fergus native, Páraic McMahon is a freelance journalist and broadcaster currently working for numerous national and local publications including The Clare Echo, The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent, The Irish Times, RTÉ, TheJournal.ie, The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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