DESPITE much speculation that there could be progress on the transfer of Shannon Heritage to Clare County Council pre-Christmas, it hasn’t happened as mid-January approaches.
Clare TD Joe Carey this week said that no progress has been made as of yet.
“It’s still where it was, they are trying to come up with a package to get it over the line with the Council,” . The lead department is the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, which is under the stewardship of Darragh O’Brien. It does involve other departments too, but that’s the main one. There have been efforts to get this over the line, but they have been unsuccessful.”
He called for a new impetus to resolve the matter. “I have spoken to all the stakeholders in this repeatedly and we need a resolution for the tourism offering in the county. With the New Year I think there should be a new concentration of minds to get this issue resolved at the earliest opportunity.”
While there have been proposals that an intermediary be appointed to bring about a resolution, that hasn’t happened either.
Shannon Heritage employee Caroline O’Sullivan said that workers are tired of the saga.
“We’re just fed up with the whole thing. This is going on so long now. Is the Council going to pull out altogether, that’s the uncertainty at this stage. It’s not looking very sure for us.”
She said that staff are puzzled at the decision to keep Bunratty Castle and Folk Park closed from Monday to Wednesday, even though there is a full complement of staff there.
“The heating is on, the lighting is on, the canteen is open, but the door isn’t open to let people in. If you opened the door and let people in you might make a bit of money.”
Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.