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Tag Archives: Shannon Heritage

Different views for future Shannon Heritage ownership

THE government has been urged to put a strategic plan in place to support the development of Shannon Airport and tourism attractions this year. This issue was raised by Deputy Michael McNamara in the Dáil recently when he reminded An Taoiseach Micheál Martin that he highlighted the Shannon Group, Shannon Airport and their pivotal role for the economic well being of the Mid-West following his elevation six months ago. Deputy McNamara asked what plan is in place to support aviation and tourism across the Mid-West in 2020. “What is the plan for Shannon Heritage? The two sites that have opened are closing on January 3. It is planned to open the sites again in April, but Shannon Heritage remains in the Shannon Group with a commercial mandate and the sites ill fit a commercial mandate because while they generate money, they generate money more broadly in the economy than they do within the group itself. The Taoiseach acknowledged this “serious” …

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Quin residents say Knappogue and Craggaunowen have been ‘abandoned’

CONCERN in the Quin area over the ongoing closure of two local Shannon Heritage sites has prompted a call for an action committee to ensure their future. With the advent of the pandemic last March, five sites in Clare and Limerick faced an uncertain future, due to the collapse in overseas visitor numbers. Only Bunratty Castle and Folk Park and King John’s Castle in Limerick have managed to stay open after intense campaigns involving staff, unions and politicians, and a promise of funding from government – the exact details of which are still being ironed out. Ger O’Halloran of Quin, a businessman and former local election candidate, has pleaded with those responsible not to abandon Knappogue Castle and Craggaunowen, and called for a local action committee to be established. “To look at Knappogue now, it is locked up and unkempt looking,” he remarked. “The longer it is closed, the more it will cost to get it open again. To maintain …

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Craggaunowen closure ‘ideological’ says McNamara

FUTURE development of tourism in East Clare will require new strategies to ensure that key historical sites are sustained as drivers of economic activity, according to a local TD. Scariff’s Deputy Michael McNamara has made the case, once again, for an alternative management structure for the Clare sites operated currently by Shannon Heritage. Since the advent of the pandemic, sites like Craggaunowen and Knappogue Castle outside the village of Quin have remained closed, amid a steep fall-off in international visitor numbers. Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, which had been set to close in the autumn, secured an eleventh hour reprieve after a government funding injection of €2.6m. The money will enable it and King John’s Castle to stay open until the end of this year. Speaking to Scariff Bay Community Radio, the Independent TD said he had raised the need to support the wider Shannon Group, with Micheál Martin, before and since his election as Taoiseach. Deputy McNamara added that …

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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 …

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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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Rollercoaster Dáil term for Crowe as first-time TD

IT would be something of an understatement to say that a lot has happened in the months since Monday, February 10. It snowed in North Clare on the day that Cathal Crowe was unveiled as a new TD, after a General Election count fraught with drama. And while many thought hell would freeze over before Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael would coalesce, and join with the Greens in a history-making new administration, that is what has transpired, against the backdrop of a global pandemic. Ten days later Deputy Crowe took his seat in the Dáil, and received the keys to his new office on the third floor of the Leinster House 2000 building. Since then, he has been putting in gruelling 14-16 hour days and, after the protracted process of government formation, he believes he has found his stride as a national representative. “As a first-time TD, you’re on a very steep learning curve,” he said. “It’s like Fresher’s Week …

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Shannon airport

Shannon Group CEO appears before Covid-19 committee

Among the people appearing before the Special Committee on Covid-19 Response today is Shannon Group CEO Mary Considine. Representatives of Ryanair, Aer Lingus and the DAA are also appearing before the committee in Leinster House. Passenger numbers at Shannon have fallen very significantly since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, while some Shannon Heritage sites have remained closed and others, including Bunratty Castle, are due to close for the season at the end of August. Shannon Group is also responsible for the operation of Shannon Heritage.  Speaking before the meeting, Committee chairman, Michael McNamara TD said: “The catastrophic impact the pandemic response has had on the aviation industry was outlined to Committee members, last week by unions. TDs were warned of a “tsunami” of redundancies and the potential liquidation of Aer Lingus. “We will continue our investigation into this sector, when we hear from officials from the management of Dublin, Cork and Shannon Airports and officials from airlines; Aer Lingus …

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Shannon airport

Transport minister “considering” support for Shannon Airport

The new Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan, is “considering” a wide range of financial supports for Shannon Airport. Deputy Joe Carey, who is also the chair of the all-party Shannon Airport Oireachtas Group, raised the ongoing challenges facing the airport with Minister Ryan in the Dáil. The Clare TD also called for Shannon Heritage sites, including Bunratty Castle, Knappogue Castle, Craggaunowen, Dunguaire Castle and King John’s Castle to be provided with support to allow them to remain open for the whole year. Deputy Carey said: “These attractions bring people to Clare and the Mid-West. It is crazy and ridiculous that the Shannon Group would close these sites, especially when we are pushing the whole idea of staycations. “There is a major opportunity here: We simply need to embrace and support it. I appealed to the Minister to do precisely that.” Deputy Carey told Minister Ryan in the Dáil: “We need state aid now, and we need the Minister to roll …

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