*Cathal Crowe addresses Shannon Heritage workers. Photograph: Natasha Barton

RENEWED CONFIDENCE has been expressed by a Clare TD that “appropriate funding and a satisfactory resolution” is on the way for the transfer of Shannon Heritage sites to Clare County Council.

Previously, Cathal Crowe (FF) on December 19th following engagements with several unnamed Ministers that a funding package was “imminent” but the County Council only received one sixth of the sum sought following a 600 page due diligence report.

Fresh optimism was voiced by Deputy Crowe and Senator Timmy Dooley (FF) following meetings with Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Jack Chambers (FF) and Clare County Council in Shannon.

In a statement to The Clare Echo, Crowe said “significant progress” had been made on negotiations to try facilitate the transfer of Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, Knappogue Castle, Craggaunowen and a retail unit at the Cliffs of Moher.

Deputy Crowe said that a revised sum has now been sought by the local authority. “Both sides are close to honing in on a final funding figure with revised costings having been submitted by the Council”.

He stated, “Crucially, the Department of Transport is now taking the lead in the situation and Minister Chambers is now the minister tasked with overseeing the striking of a deal with Clare County Council. Prior to this Clare County Council had to negotiate with 4 departments”.

Representatives of Shannon Heritage staff also met with the Junior Minister during his trip to Co Clare on Friday. “I also asked Minister Chambers to insist that the Shannon Heritage sites are commercially run right up to the date of transfer and coach tour bookings, along with banquet bookings, need to continue so that the Council has a healthy revenue stream coming in once the transfer has been completed.

“December’s funding disappointedly undershot the mark but I am pretty certain that the coming weeks will deliver both appropriate funding and a satisfactory resolution,” Crowe acknowledged.

Senator Dooley said the meetings between Chambers, Clare County Council and Shannon Airport Group were “positive”. He outlined, “good progress has been made but there’s still a little detail to be finalised”.

Dooley said, “I’m hopeful there will be a successful outcome in the not too distant future”.

Senior officials in the Council in the past week were the most optimistic on the subject. Director of Rural Development, Leonard Cleary explained, “We’re ready now for the transfer now to happen, we would like it to happen with Government approval before the summer”. Discussions with Department officials are “almost at the final stage,” he said.

Not for the first time, senior management in the local authority offered assurances that the jobs of Shannon Heritage staff were “secure”.

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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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