*An empty Shannon Airport. Photograph: Joe Buckley
A six hour turnaround which saw the appointment and then cancellation of the new Chairperson of Shannon Group plc has been coined as a “fiasco” and “a sorry saga”.
Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan (GP) announced the ex CEO of Aurivo Aaron Forde as Rose Hynes’ successor on Tuesday afternoon, later that night he confirmed he was not proceeding with the appointment.
Numerous tweets from Forde’s Twitter account prompted the reversal. Previous tweets criticised the Traveller community, social welfare recipients and called the Tanáiste Leo Varadkar (FG) a leak.
Speaking in Dáil Éireann, Deputy Michael McNamara (IND) described it as a “fiasco” and said Forde has “no ostensible experience” to lead either Shannon Airport, Shannon Commercial Properties or Shannon Heritage. He criticised the absence of a Chairperson for six months “at a time of unprecedented challenge to the group”.
Deputy McNamara said Forde’s initial appointment “really undermines any claims that the Government has a commitment to Shannon or the wider region, Shannon is of course instrumental right across the west of Ireland”.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin (FF) said three candidates were identified with Forde selected following the public appointments service. “Then it emerged of tweets that were unacceptable and the Minister took very quick action to deal with that and the Minister will be dealing with the successor”.
In a statement to The Clare Echo, Deputy Joe Carey (FG) labelled the episode as “a sorry saga”.
Clarecastle’s Geraldine Gregan, a friend of Forde’s for 38 years told The Clare Echo that his dismissal was the wrong call. “He was just what’s needed for Shannon Group, he was a safe pair of hands, we’ve lost him now”.
She believed, “We need to protect our champions of industry”. An equality officer with Fine Gael, she said that Forde’s apology for his remarks on Twitter were sufficient, “what road are we going down, no one is perfect”. Geraldine outlined that she held Aaron in the same esteem as Denis Brosnan.