Engagement is ongoing between the Department of Transport and Shannon Group on the future of Shannon Heritage.
Shannon Heritage is a subsidiary of the commercial semi-state body Shannon Group. Sites operated by Shannon Heritage include Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, Knappogue Castle, Craggaunowen, King John’s Castle, Malahide Castle and Gardens, GPO Witness History Centre, Newbridge House and Farm, Dunguaire Castle and the Casino Model Railway Museum.
A status update on the “proposed transfer of ownership of existing Shannon Heritage sites to another entity” was sought by Clare TD Michael McNamara (IND).
Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan (GP) confirmed that ongoing engagement between the Department of Transport and Shannon Group continued. “Options to secure the future of Shannon Heritage are currently being considered by Shannon Group but no decision has yet been taken in this regard”.
Capital funding will be required by the Government to invest in the sites, Deputy McNamara told The Clare Echo. He expected the matter would not progress until a new Chairperson of Shannon Group is appointed. “Currently it looks like Shannon Group isn’t terribly interested in the sites,” the Clare TD stated.
If Shannon Group no longer wants to have a responsibility for the sites, Deputy McNamara believed Clare County Council who “have a proven track record in managing tourism sites such as Vandeleur Walled Gardens and the Cliffs of Moher” should be viewed as potential operators.
He acknowledged that the local authority would be “justifiably reluctant” to take on the sites unless Government funding was provided in advance. “They wouldn’t have the capital to invest nor would the OPW I expect”.