SHANNON’S independence has been celebrated by the presentation of a limited-edition print of a painting of the airport from the 1960s, by one of the region’s best-known artists, Denise Ryan.
She is from Ballyvaughan and is the daughter of the late JG Ryan, one of the great champions of the airport, having come to what was then Rineanna Airport to take up the position of head accountant in the late 1940s.
He was involved with a number of initiatives, including the setting up of the world’s first duty free shop. As deputy comptroller at Shannon Mr Ryan appointed Colm McLoughlin as special assistant to WP Maloney, general manager Freeport Shops. Mr McLoughlin would later set up, on behalf of Aer Rianta, the Duty Free Shop in Dubai. He is today Executive vice-chairman of Dubai Duty Free.
Mr Ryan also helped to spearhead the establishment of the Shannon College of Hotel Management and the Bunratty banquets.
He was airport director from 1974 until his retirement in 1979 and worked tirelessly to promote Shannon, sometimes in ways that weren’t to the liking of the Dublin-based parent company, Aer Rianta. Indeed, in 1976 a Unilateral Declaration of Independence was made in opposition to a new system of direct management that head office was seeking to impose on departments of Shannon, which essentially eliminated local autonomy. After six months of refusing to communicate with head-office, Dublin relented and withdrew the new system.
The 40-inch x 32-inch painting is a representation based on a photograph of Shannon from the early sixties and was presented to airport director Mary Considine.
Speaking at the presentation of the painting, Ms Considine said, “We are delighted with this gesture by Denise. To have such a fabulous painting of the airport from its early days is one thing but the sense of nostalgia is strengthened by her family ties with Shannon. JG Ryan’s name is synonymous with an era of great innovation at Shannon, something we are determined to regenerate today.”