President Michael D. Higgins has been contacted in a last-ditch attempt to keep Shannon Heritage operated sites in the Mid-West open beyond August 31st.
After reopening in June, Bunratty Castle & Folk Park and King John’s Castle are scheduled to close to the public on August 31st, Knappogue Castle and Craggaunowen have remained shut since March.
Managing Director of Renaissance Resorts, Emelyn Heaps has written to the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins seeking his input to prevent the closure of the Shannon Heritage operated attractions in the Mid-West. “I feel we are going to lose the battle purely because of a lack of support, I believe the reason for the lack of support is because people have been put under a gag order”.
Heaps told The Clare Echo, “We’ve been battling this since they announced the scheduled closure, we’ve been doing our best to get this out. The problem we’re having is I believe we are dealing with a gag order, I think the Shannon Group are adamant they are going to close this down, I think Shannon Airport will be shut down. In other countries, they would be put under house arrest for what they are doing here, maybe that is what should happen”.
Further public support is required to prevent the closure, Emelyn maintained. “We’re out of time, once it closes that’s it. It would be brilliant if we all blocked the roads in protest but what is that going to achieve, nothing. We’ll make headlines and the news tonight but what about tomorrow”.
His correspondence has been acknowledged by the Áras with Deputy Head of Protocol, Sarah Keaveney issuing a response this week.
“The President, as you know, if very familiar with the South West and understands the importance of these heritage sites to the wider tourism sector in the region. While the President cannot intervene in matters that are more appropriate to Government, it is very useful for him to have information, such as that provided in your e-mail, as he does have the opportunity to discuss issues of mutual concern with the Taoiseach at their regular meetings,” the correspondence noted.
It added, “The President sends his best wishes and reaffirms his solidarity with all those people in Counties Clare and Limerick and across the whole country who are trying to ensure that their businesses and livelihoods survive the ravages of this Pandemic”.