The Department of Transport now accepts that it did receive a request from Clare County Council for it to have a seat on the board of Shannon Group.
Officials had insisted that Minister Shane Ross had never been asked to facilitate the request, but then changed their statement after Clare FM informed them of motions to this effect that had been passed by the local authority.
Councillors say it’s vital that this county has a say in the running of the group in charge of Shannon Airport.
This week has seen two new appointees to the board of Shannon Group, namely Ambrose Loughlin, a former partner at McCann Fitzgerald Solicitors in Dublin, and business and media advisor Stephen Rae.
They were appointed by Minister Shane Ross, who endorsed the decision of the Public Appointments Service.
However, the decision has led to disgust within Clare County Council, as it effectively amounts to a rejection of their calls for representation of the Board.
There’s widespread support in the Council chamber for such a move, and on at least three occasions in recent years – in July 2016, and in January and March of the following year – motions were passed in the Council Chamber to this effect.
Earlier, in a statement to Clare FM, the Department of Transport insists Minister Ross has not received any request from Clare County Council for a seat on the board.
When Clare FM pointed out these motions to the Department, they issued an updated statement removing this statement, but they have offered no further clarity or any further update on their decision.
Council Cathaoirleach Michael Begley says its CEO Pat Dowling should have been appointed.
One long-time Shannon representative, however, has questioned whether the Council needs to be represented on the Board.
Former Mayor of Clare, Patricia McCarthy says the most important thing is that the best possible people are in place for the good of the Airport in particular.
Clare’s Junior Minister Pat Breen, meanwhile, says he has spoken to the Taoiseach’s office on the issue.
Statement from the Department of Transport
“Appointments to State Boards, including the Board of Shannon Group, are made through the Public Appointments Service (PAS) and their dedicated website www.stateboards.ie. In carrying out this role, PAS make their selection based on criteria (for the role of board member on a State Board) provided to them.”