The CEO of Shannon Group has warned that unless funding is announced for the county’s heritage sites, there will be no option but to push ahead with planned closures at the end of this month.
Speaking during a wide-ranging interview on Clare FM’s Morning Focus, Mary Considine has also spoken of the challenges facing the aviation sector, which has had a knock-on impact on the tourism industry.
2020 is shaping up to be the worst year in the history of aviation, with seven million job losses expected in the sector globally.
During a wide-ranging interview on Clare FM’s Morning Focus, the group’s CEO has spoken of the need for difficult decisions to be taken to sustain business into the future, including a voluntary severance scheme and temporary pay cuts.
Mary Considine has acknowledged that staff are seeking clarity about the future, and while she’s warning it will take until 2023 at least for the sector to recover, she doesn’t currently anticipate huge numbers of job losses.
Mary Considine is also warning that Shannon Heritage, which relies heavily on visitors from the US and UK will suffer multi-million euro losses this year.
Bunratty Castle and Folk Park and King John’s Castle in Limerick are due to close in just over two weeks time, while Cragaunowen and Knappogue and Dungauire Castles have remained closed since the beginning of the pandemic.
Workers are calling for the sites to remain open year-round and Shannon Group has made a submission to the Government for just shy of 4 million euro in funding to allow it to do that.
A meeting is due to take place between Management and Union representatives on Monday and Mary Considine says the group is continuing to engage with the Government on the matter.
But she’s warned that without the necessary funding, there will be no option but to push ahead with planned closures on August 31st.
Shannon Group’s CEO has also defended the company’s track record since it became independent from the DAA in 2014.
It’s invested 125 million euro across its businesses, including 50 million in airport infrastructure and 65 million in Shannon Commercial Properties, which has helped it attract 40 new companies into the region.
6 million has been invested in Heritage sites, predominantly Bunratty Castle and Folk Park and a 40 million euro development plan for the tourist site is progressing.
Mary Considine is hopeful that the group can weather the storm over the coming years to ensure that all of its businesses survive.