*Niall O’Callaghan. Photograph: Arthur Ellis
Niall O’Callaghan has announced his resignation as Managing Director of Shannon Heritage.
His sudden departures comes amid criticism of the visitor experience operator’s plans to only open its Mid-West attractions on a limited basis this summer despite keeping facilities in Dublin such as Malahide Castle open.
O’Callaghan joined Shannon Heritage in October 2017 having previously been a regional manager with IDA Ireland. A spokesperson for Shannon Group confirmed the exit on Thursday, “Shannon Group has confirmed that Niall O’Callaghan, Managing Director, Shannon Heritage, has informed the Group of his decision to leave the Company in order to take up other opportunities”.
Local traders received an email from Niall this week informing them of his plans to leave. In the correspondence he said, “As I depart, it is with a profound sense of gratitude for having had the opportunity to work with you, in striving to improve the tourism product for Ireland and the regions in which Shannon Heritage has the pleasure of operating in”.
He added, “I have learned to value and appreciate that the diversity of operational functions is one of the greatest strengths of Shannon Heritage. Eleven locations; indoor and outdoor, east to west, day and night, urban and rural, customer facing and back of house. I am constantly inspired by the depth of collegiality, professionalism and affirmation shown by you and whom I have come to know personally over the past three years. The need to adapt to changing demands and visitor attraction trends is, we believe, what sets Shannon Heritage apart”.
CEO of Shannon Group, Mary Considine stated, “I would like to thank Niall for his contribution to Shannon Heritage and Shannon Group during his tenure as Managing Director of Shannon Heritage and wish him and his family the very best for the future.”
Clare TD, Michael McNamara (IND) told The Clare Echo that O’Callaghan’s decision to step down “calls into question the treatment of Shannon Heritage within the Shannon Group and its assets at a time when they are most needed in the Midwest”.
McNamara continued, “Even if there is a view that Shannon Heritage does not belong in a commercial semi-state (Shannon Group), there is a still a duty to ensure that its assets, like Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, Knappogue and Craggaunowen are accessible to the public as we all begin to open up and hope to enjoy the summer”.