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Crunch time in talks to save Shannon Heritage sites

Clare Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe is in talks with ministerial colleagues ahead of an expected decision on the immediate future of the Shannon Heritage sites. As things stand, sites including Bunratty Castle and King John’s Castle are due to close at the end of the month while the likes of Craggaunowen and Knappogue Castles have remained closed since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. “I’ve spent quite a considerable amount of time this week chatting to my colleagues, including ministers with a decision-making capacity on Shannon Heritage,” said Deputy Crowe. “Minister Michael McGrath has confirmed to me that the file has reached his department and it is now being examined, with a decision due in the coming days. “I have reiterated the importance of these sites to Clare to the Minister, particularly given the year we have been facing. “This morning, I held an impromptu meeting with Shannon Heritage workers following a separate meeting I was at …

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Outlook ‘stark’ for Shannon as staff cuts announced

REDUNDANCIES and severe pay cuts are being demanded of Shannon Airport staff, while its managing director is about to depart. A letter sent to airport employees on Monday informed them of a wide range of cuts, which Shannon Group CEO Mary Considine claims are necessary to deal with the fallout from Covid-19. On Friday, it was announced that the airport’s managing director Andrew Murphy is leaving. This follows the recent departure of Niall O’Callaghan, the managing director of Shannon Heritage, the tourism arm of Shannon Group. The aviation sector globally is being hammered by Covid-19, with cuts being introduced at many airlines and airports, and in her letter to staff on Monday, Ms Considine stated that things look very bleak for Shannon. “The outlook for this year, and beyond, is stark and the scale of the challenge we are facing is unprecedented. “Currently, expected year-end airport passenger numbers are forecast to be down by approximately 70% on last year. “However, …

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No confidence in Shannon Group management

Sinn Féin TD for Clare, Violet-Anne Wynne, has said that confidence in Shannon Group to properly support workers at Shannon Airport, local businesses and the economy of the Mid-West has been swept away by this week’s announcement of job losses and pay cuts. Sinn Féin TD for Clare, Violet-Anne Wynne said it is quite clear that the “experiment” of a standalone Shannon Airport Authority (SAA) has not worked. “Cutting Shannon adrift from the DAA has been an un unmitigated disaster and this week’s announcement to cut pay and seek redundancies has only strengthened this opinion amongst staff in the Airport. “Two recent managerial departures from the Shannon Group have further created an atmosphere of insecurity at Shannon and workers are genuinely fearful for what is going to come next. I think it is now time for the entire Management team of the Shannon Group to step down and allow a new team to come in and pull the Airport back …

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Wheelchair users raise concerns about access to new Local Link services in Clare

A SOUTH Galway wheelchair user has voiced his concern about the accessibility of vehicles on Local Link routes currently, and called on Minister Shane Ross to “cop on” and return the service to Clare Bus. Séamus Ó Donnacha from Kinvara, who works for Clare Crusaders in Barefield, has been using a wheelchair for 15 years, said the nature of the accessible buses currently on the routes removed independence from passengers with disabilities, and literally left them “stuck at the back of the bus”. “To my knowledge, there are some accessible buses in the fleet which are able to cater for wheelchair users,” Mr Ó Donnacha outlined. “Clare Bus had low-floor buses which meant that someone could get straight onto the bus. Now, what we have are vehicles with tail lifts at the back. That means that wheelchair user needs to be helped on board, and they’re left there away from everyone else and can’t interact with others. That’s an upsetting …

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Second plane carrying vital medical equipment lands at Shannon

A second Qatar Airways cargo plane carrying vital medical equipment from China landed at Shannon Airport yesterday afternoon. The cargo was the second consignment to arrive in Shannon in under a week. Among the medical equipment on board were ICU ventilators, masks and thermometers for distribution to frontline workers around Ireland in the fight against COVID-19. This follows a delivery of ICU ventilators and hospital beds which arrived in Shannon on a Qatar plane on April 3. Qatar Airways is one of the world’s largest cargo operators and has an extensive network of more than 160 destinations using both freight and passenger flights. The airline resumed flights to China at the end of last month to support the global supply chain, which includes the transportation of urgent medical relief aid, essential to the global fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Commenting on this latest consignment Mary Considine, CEO Shannon Group, which operates Shannon Airport said: “As an essential service our airport …

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Shannon Firm Keep School Meals Coming in Time of Crisis

SCHOOL may be out for the foreseeable future, but, thanks to the efforts of a major Shannon food plant, school meals will now be delivered to the doors of families who need them most. Freshtoday, which had a staff of more than 30 in Shannon, was forced to cut around two-thirds of its local workforce when school closures were announced in response to the Covid-19 crisis. The company, which employs up to 240 staff nationwide, has now begun to hire some of its workers back to ensure that households in need are provided for. “As soon as schools closed, we knew that the demand from families and schools to supply food would be staggering”, said Tony Mulcahy, Managing Director of Freshtoday Clare. “We immediately set about implementing an alternative delivery method and ensuring that we could meet demand. We are pleased to say that we can offer a fortnightly delivery of groceries for each child, ensuring children have all the …

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Clare mourns a musical and broadcasting legend

BROADCASTING and music circles in Clare, and well beyond, are in mourning after the death was announced of Clare FM presenter, Pat Costello. A long-time Shannon resident, he was a native of Moycarkey in County Tipperary. Mr Costello was a member, for many years, of the acclaimed traditional group Shaskeen, playing banjo, bouzouki and guitar. He was also an expert music producer and sound-recording enthusiast. For more than two decades, he presented music shows on Clare FM, most recently the hugely popular ‘Gentle Folk’ on Sunday nights. Managing Director of the station, Liam O’Shea, who was a long-time friend as well as a colleague, described Mr Costello as a genius. “Pat, to me, was one of the most talented people I’ve ever known,” he said. “He was a genius. He was absolutely brilliant when it came to technology. Pat was a fantastic musician. He spent a lot of time with me when I worked in the RTÉ studios, late into …

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Two Shannon Flights Cancelled Due To Worsening Weather

TWO Aer Lingus flights between Shannon Airport and London Heathrow have been cancelled tomorrow as weather conditions worsen due to Storm Ciara. EI384 from Shannon to Heathrow, and EI385 from Heathrow to Shannon have been cancelled due to “London weather impact,” Shannon Airport have announced. The airport have advised passengers to check with their airlines for updates on flight information as weather warnings will move from status yellow to orange tomorrow as winds are set to intensify. Winds of up to 130km/h are expected tomorrow and a nationwide orange weather warning will come into effect from 5am Sunday morning. Aer Lingus will be in contact with passengers directly regarding refunds or alternative flight options.

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