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Bunratty Castle

Reprieve for Bunratty as €2.6 million allocated

THE State has allocated €2.6 million to Shannon Heritage to secure the immediate future of its iconic sites.

It had been feared that Bunratty Castle and Folk Park and King John’s Castle would be forced to close at the end of the month, due to the colossal impact from the Covid-19 pandemic on revenue.

However, the funding announced today means they will remain open until the end of 2020.

Welcoming the news, Mary Considine, CEO, Shannon Group said: “The announcement by Hildegarde Naughton, Minister of State for International Road Transport and Logistics of €2.6 million funding to enable us keep our Shannon Heritage sites open to the end of December is very welcome.

“The ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been devastating for our heritage business which is hugely dependent on international visitors. With visitor numbers to our owned sites down -80% year-to-date on last year, we sought Government funding to support us through this unprecedented crisis.

“Today’s announcement is great news, not only for our employees at Bunratty Castle & Folk Park and King John’s Castle, but for the mid-west tourism industry. We know the importance of these sites to tourism in the region. We would like to thank Minister Naughton, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform for this much needed support,” she concluded.

“This fund means that these iconic sites will remain open until the end of the year, meaning staff can now breath a sigh of relief,” said Clare TD Cathal Crowe. “I will be working with my colleagues to ensure this gets extended even further too,” he added.

Shannon Heritage had sought €6.4 million to keep going until next summer. Its visitor numbers are way down due to the absence of international tourists and its understood the attractions had been losing money even during the key holiday month of July.

Clare TD Michael McNamara urged further action. “The Government needs to urgently outline its strategy to ensure all Shannon Heritage sites open next year and their value to tourism in the Mid West is understood and developed.”

Owen Ryan