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SHANNON GROUP’s new Chairperson said he expects to serve the full five years of his term.

At the end of March, Conal Henry the founder and chairperson of telecommunications provider, Firbrus was appointed as the Chairperson of Shannon Group. He formerly served as CEO of Enet helping it win the €2bn for the Irish National Broadband Plan and also as Commercial Director of Ryanair.

Addressing a meeting of Clare County Council for the first time, the Derry native outlined that he was “well aware of issues around doing business in the Mid-West” having “been present here for near enough to twenty years”.

His initial inspection of Shannon Group was positive, Conal admitted. “It is a business in rude health, there are challenges associated with Airport but very well ran business that is financially resilient, it has one of the best managements in aviation which has the potential to drive Shannon and its tourism product forward”.

Aviation in Ireland’s biggest challenge is to tackle the “very imbalanced aviation sector” with 87 percent of traffic travelling through Dublin Airport and the remaining 13 percent split between four airports. “This is not suitable for any State and it needs to be addressed,” he maintained and suggested a readdressing the national aviation policy to implement “a more competitive aviation package”.

Decarbonisation presents “a massive opportunity within Shannon Airport and Shannon Group to maximise growth for the Mid-West and Clare,” Conal affirmed. He pointed to the Shannon Estuary as a big enabler of this and felt it could be used as “a primary engine”.

Existing plans will not be written during Conal’s time as Chairman, he flagged while describing himself as “a straight shooter, I’m not going to talk around the issue, I say what I see”.

Since the establishment of Shannon Group a decade ago, there have been three Chairpersons prior to Henry, New Quay native Rose Hynes, Aaron Forde whose appointment was revoked within a matter of hours in February of last year and Pádraig Ó Céidigh who resigned from the role after less than six months.

Regarding his timeframe in the post, Conal was confident he’d be sticking around, “I do expect to serve for a five year term”.

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