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*Bunratty Castle. Photograph: John Mangan

A “premature decision” by Shannon Group to lay off workers at three of its Clare tourism sites has been criticised by Violet-Anne Wynne (SF).

As first reported by The Clare Echo, workers at Bunratty Castle & Folk Park, Knappogue and Craggaunowen will be let go until 2021 at the earliest. It follows the decision by Shannon Heritage to open Bunratty for a six week window in the summer and keep the remainder of its attractions closed until 2021.

Deputy Wynne labelled the decision of Shannon Group to let go employees for the remainder of the year as “disappointing as Clare attempts to gain it’s confidence to lift COVID-19 restrictions”. She called on the body to “fully engage” with its employees.

“Workers have met with the company over the uncertainty for jobs. However, I am extremely concerned that jobs losses at Shannon Heritage have been taken prematurely and without exploring all of the options. There is uncertainty in the tourism market at the moment and it is far from clear what effects COVID-19 will have on Clare tourism for the remainder of 2020,” she stated.

Violet-Anne added, “I am shocked that such a decision has been taken before there are clear indications as to when Clare will lift travel restrictions. Workers at Shannon Heritage will play an important role in rebuilding the Clare tourism sector and I am seriously concerned that the Shannon Group have already made their decision on Shannon Heritage, without knowing what financial package or measures the Government will provide”.

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