SHANNON AIRPORT needs to now be identifying itself as the gateway for the 2027 Ryder Cup with JP McManus identified as a key player in making this a reality.

Senior officials in Clare County Council are determined not to let the opportunity of a lifetime in promoting the county slip them by while calls to involve Limerick’s JP McManus in maximising the use of Shannon Airport for the Ryder Cup have been voiced.

Preparations are already underway for the sporting event with the Tourism Department of Clare County Council collaborating with the Clare Tourism Advisory Forum.

Councils in Clare, Limerick, Tipperary and Kerry need to have a united approach “that will maximise the potential of Shannon Airport and the Shannon Estuary for the anticipated numbers of visitors and media attention this event will bring,” Cllr Ian Lynch (IND) proposed.

He also asked that a cross directorate strategy be developed “to harness and maximise the potential for cruise ships ahead of the event by identifying and enhancing infrastructure along the Shannon estuary as well as developing visitor package bundles/itinerary to attract visitors to experience what wonders Clare has to offer”.

Acting Head of Tourism, Deirdre O’Shea said the Council will work with Fáilte Ireland and neighbouring local authorities “to make every effort in ensuring that the potential of Shannon Airport and indeed the County of Clare will benefit from one of the world’s greatest sporting event, being hosted in our neighbouring county”.

Fáilte Ireland have confirmed that a new golf tourism development strategy will be developed to aid the Mid-West region maximise the legacy benefits from Adare hosting the Ryder Cup in five years. This includes leveraging the suite of European Tour events hosted in Ireland annually. “Collaboration with the Shannon Region Sports & Conference Bureau will leverage the event to increase the hosting of Business Events and Conferences using the opportunity to showcase high-quality imagery and develop possible itineraries for delegates in Clare and the Mid-West,” O’Shea added.

Referencing the impact of the 2019 Irish Open to the Clare economy, Cllr Lynch maintained the big challenge for the Ryder Cup would be to see the West of Ireland benefit more than other areas. “We have seen the marketing budget of Dublin Airport, once it was announced they were quick off the mark to claim they were gateway to Ryder Cup, by God they could do with a small lesson in geography. We have to make sure we have joined up with Councils in Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary and Galway”.

Scotland’s public transport benefitted when it hosted the Ryder Cup, the Kilrush representative noted while highlighting the potential it had for the mooted rail link at Shannon Airport. He claimed that some homeowners are refusing to put their house up for rent until the Ryder Cup which “is killing our housing stock”. Clare can also benefit from the cruise industry he believed, “It would be remiss of us not to look at the sea, if we can manage it sustainably, orchestrate the size of ships, tours and agendas”.

Clare does not have the pier to deliver aspired benefits from the cruise industry, Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF) argued. “We need to be doing the marketing now, there is no point having stuff in Shannon when people get through the Airport, everything is being done this year and next year, people are booking the holidays now”. The promotion of Shannon must be done in areas where the visitors will come from. “The Irish Open was the lever, we did an amazing job in Lahinch, golf is one of the most sustainable tourism industries we have so bring it on”.

Dublin Airport was “totally wrong” to try claim the Ryder Cup, Cllr Pat Daly (FF) commented. The selling point of a thirty to forty minute trip from Shannon to Adare rather than two hours plus from Dublin needs to be flagged, he said. “JP McManus needs to be brought into it, he is the man that will dictate and set it up, he has the power, he needs to meet with management of the four local authorities”.

Inability of Shannon Airport to reap the rewards of the Irish Open in Lahinch cannot be repeated, Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF) stressed. Golf brings “massive potential” to the Mid-West, Cllr Pat McMahon (FF) felt, “the amount of media attention will be unbelievable”.

Chief Executive of the Council, Pat Dowling said it was not their place to “tell Shannon Airport how to run their business”. He told the meeting they are due to sit down with the CEO and Chair of Shannon Group along with the Chief Executives of Limerick City and County Council, Galway County Council and Tipperary County Council. “We are not going to let this opportunity go, having the Ryder Cup half an hour away from us, we will not let that go unexploited,” he said.

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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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