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Aaron Forde’s appointment as the new Chairman of Shannon Group has been scrapped.

Hours after Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan (GP) announcing the ex CEO of Aurivo as Rose Hynes’ successor, he confirmed he was not proceeding with Forde’s appointment. 

Numerous tweets from Forde’s Twitter account prompted the reversal. He has since deleted the account but tweets over recent years criticised the Traveller community, social welfare recipients and called the Tanáiste Leo Varadkar (FG) a leak.

In a statement on Tuesday night, a spokesperson for Minister Ryan confirmed the appointment would not proceed. “In a phone conversation this evening Mr Ryan indicated that Mr Forde’s use of social media was below the standard expected of the chair of a state board. This is an important time for Shannon Group which has to chart a way through the crisis caused by the pandemic and plan for recovery. The Department of Transport will work to appoint a chair as quickly as possible.”

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In a letter to Minister Ryan, Aaron Forde said he had reflected on his position and decided to withdraw his appointment. He wrote that he wished to apologise unreservedly for remarks he made on Twitter and in particular a post directed at the Traveller community. His correspondence also detailed the importance of balanced regional development.

“I wish everyone associated with Shannon Group plc every success. It is a crucial organisation with an important regional, national and international remit. I will continue to be a strong supporter of the team’s efforts into the future. In conclusion, thank you for giving me the privilege of being selected to serve as a Chair of a State authority, I extend once more my regret and apologies,” the Cavan native stated.

Clare TD, Cathal Crowe (FF) has deleted videos from his social media praising the appointment of Mr Forde in which he lauded the “impressive CV” of the former Chairman of Ornua which the Deputy noted was “best-known for Kerrygold butter”.

A new chairperson will be appointed “as quickly as possible,” a Department spokesperson stated.

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