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“This is very disappointing news”

RYANAIR’S announcement of the closure of its Shannon base is a big setback, Shannon Group’s Chief Executive Mary Considine has acknowledged today. “This is very disappointing news not only for Shannon based Ryanair employees and all our airport team, but for the whole region who rely on the services that Ryanair provide. We have done everything in our power to retain the base. “In July, Ryanair resumed services to 16 destinations from Shannon, and as a result of today’s announcement this will see their operation at Shannon reduced to 8 flights serving Stansted, Manchester and Wroclaw for the winter period. “The aviation industry is on its knees with further flight restrictions being imposed in EU countries as the virus rates increase. What we need now is a clear pathway to recovery for aviation. We had hoped that it would start with a harmonised EU traffic light system. While this was endorsed by Ireland, the measures proposed fall short of what …

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Shock as Ryanair closes Shannon base for winter season

CLARE TD Cathal Crowe has this morning said he is stunned at the Ryanair decision to close its Shannon base for the winter. “Last week Ryanair’s Eddie Wilson came before the Oireachtas Transport Committee demanding that Ireland fully adopt the EU ‘traffic light system’ for a safe return to international flying. It was understood that this would allow Ryanair to begin to more properly plan routes and schedules for the months ahead. “The ‘traffic light system’ and Ryanair’s major ask has been met; but now, within a few short hours, they are announcing this closure. They clearly intend to use the new EU protocols to fly the more lucrative routes in/out of Dublin, Stansted, but not Shannon and Cork,” concluded Deputy Crowe. Fine Gael’s Joe Carey said ““This is extremely disappointing news and yet another blow for Shannon Airport. Ryanair’s decision will result in job losses at Shannon Airport and will further reduce our connectivity as a region.”

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Ryanair to close Shannon base for the winter

THERE has been terrible news for Shannon this morning with Ryanair announcing it will close its base at the Clare airport for the winter. With transatlantic closed down already and the Shannon-Heathrow route also suspended, Shannon will now have just eight scheduled passenger flights per week. Ryanair’s Cork base will also be shut, along with other cutbacks throughout the continent. In a statement on Thursday morning, Michael O’Leary blamed Government mismanagement of the pandemic across the continent. “While we deeply regret these winter schedule cuts they have been forced upon us by Government mismanagement of EU air travel. Our focus continues to be on maintaining as large a schedule as we can sensibly operate to keep our aircraft our pilots and our cabin crew current and employed while minimising job losses. It is inevitable given the scale of these cutbacks, that we will be implementing more unpaid leave and job sharing this winter in these bases where we have agreed …

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“Thank God for modern technology, it helps you to reach out”

A DEFINING part of many Clare people’s weekend is attendance at mass, but that will not be the case for the next three weekends at least, as the county and the country are again under tighter restrictions. As was the case earlier in the year the devout will be watching the ceremonies through electronic devices as part of the national effort to limit the spread of the virus. “On one hand while we’re not surprised, we are that it happened so quickly, being locked down at pretty short notice. We’re gone to phase 3, it is what it is, it’s the reality and maybe it’s a reminder to everyone to up their game a little bit and look out for everybody,” said Shannon parish priest Father Arnold Rosney on Tuesday. He said that people can still go to their local places of worship. “Public masses are on hold for the three weeks but the churches are still open for private …

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Considine expects Shannon numbers to be down 80%

SHANNON Airport has never seen such a crisis and its passenger numbers will be down by around 80% this year, CEO Mary Considine told the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport on Wednesday. “We have been through many crises in the past, but never on such a global scale; this is unprecedented. Like airports globally, Shannon has witnessed an almost total collapse in airport traffic, connectivity and revenues,” she said. Shannon Group’s revenue and passenger numbers are in freefall, she added, “The figures are stark. Our passenger numbers have been declining since scheduled services recommenced on July 1. In August they were down 86% and last month they were down 91%. If this trend continues, we expect to see a decline of 80% in passenger numbers for this year compared to the previous year. As a result of these and other losses in the Group, we expect overall Group revenue to be down almost 60% by the end of this year. …

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“It’s nice to give something back”

YEARS after the loss of his beloved daughter Claire, Jimmy Howard is still working to raise funds for Crumlin Hospital. A Killaloe man long based in Mallow, he was on the recent Siúl Sa Bhaile walk in North Clare, which has brought in around €10,000 for Children’s Health Foundation Crumlin. Jimmy first came into contact with Crumlin almost 19 years ago, when he suffered a terrible loss. “At Christmas 2001 our eight-year-old daughter was diagnosed with leukaemia. She died the following week. She was diagnosed on December 19 and buried on St Stephen’s Day.” Claire had been unwell for a couple of months, but it took quite a long time for her to be diagnosed. “She had been sick around Halloween. They put her on antibiotics and she came around a bit. Next thing she got sick again and they put her on stronger ones. Coming towards the middle of December she was starting to go rapidly downhill, but she …

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Deer hunting licence delays prompts concern over farm and forest damage

DEER are said to be causing significant damage to farms and forests in East Clare, with the pandemic being blamed for a slow-down in the processing of permits for hunters, five weeks into open season. Concerns have also been raised about the ongoing issue of illegal deer hunting, which a major conservation and management organisation described as a recurring problem in the east of the county. “There are landowners in East Clare who might go out to find 30 to 40 deer on their grazing,” said William Shortall of the IFA  said. “As the population of deer expands, they’re competing for food and that’s what drives them into grassland areas and tillage. What we need in the long term is an agency with responsibility for the overall management of deer, who will be able to put effective plans in place to control their numbers. We’re entering the rut now, where stags move off their territory in search of females, so …

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Call for Council to take seat on Shannon’s board

CLARE County Council should be represented on the board of Shannon Group, Senator Martin Conway claimed in the Seanad, at a debate attended by Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Hildegarde Naughton. “Whatever future structure (for Shannon Group) is being considered, though, there must be linkages with people who know tourism. Clare County Council, in particular, has a fantastic record of building tourism numbers and products, for example, the Cliffs of Moher visitor experience,” said the North Clare Senator. “Clare County Council built the cliffs from 400,000 or 500,000 visitors per year to almost two million in 2019. That type of expertise will help to inform those of us in the region. Whatever new structure is put in place in Shannon, the input must be balanced and professional and have the linkages that we need,” he added. Clare County Council have long sought influence with Shannon Group and while former Chief Executive Tom Coughlan was …

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