The Shannon Group plc has today been established by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe, TD. The new company will be a key conduit for growth across the West of Ireland and beyond, its Chairman Rose Hynes stated.
Welcoming the announcement by Minister Donohoe, Ms Hynes said that the four strategic business units that make up the Shannon Group will co-exist within the Group elevating the business into a single entity of significant regional and national importance.
The Shannon Group plc brings together:
• Shannon Airport, the only airport on the Atlantic seaboard serving all three key markets – the US, UK and Europe – and which has already achieved significant growth following its establishment as an independent company in January 2013
• Shannon Commercial Enterprises Limited, trading as Shannon Commercial Properties, which includes the Shannon Free Zone and a significant property portfolio across the Shannon region
• One of Ireland’s largest visitor experience operators Shannon Heritage, complete with six castles and various other day and evening visitor attractions
• The International Aviation Services Centre (IASC), which builds on the activities of over 40 existing aviation companies already located in the region.
Said Ms Hynes: “The Shannon Group plc is a dynamic commercial semi-state company with a very significant role in stimulating growth across the wider region. The Group has a wide footprint, with Shannon Airport serving a region that stretches from Cork right up to the North West, and in that regard has both regional and national significance,” said the Shannon Group Chairman.
“The Government has delivered this new entity and we now embark with great enthusiasm on a journey that will present many opportunities. The work now begins to maximise those opportunities for the greater good of the region.”
The Shannon Group will deliver an early illustration of its potential importance to the region when it hosts a high-level gathering of US multi-national executives to welcome Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on his inaugural trip to Ireland since he became the first Irish-American in 20 years to be elected as Mayor of Boston last November. The Shannon Airport event, which will be attended by over 100 business and public representatives, is a further strengthening of relationships between the Mayor and the region following his February meeting with the Shannon Group Chairman in the US – his first meeting with an international delegation since he was sworn into office the previous month.
Also welcoming today’s announcement by Minister Donohoe, Shannon Group CEO Neil Pakey said, “We start out as a Group on a positive footing thanks to the growth achieved at Shannon Airport since it was made independent. Last year we halted five years of successive decline and this year expects to achieve double digit growth.
“While there will inevitably be challenges ahead, we already have an impetus and confidence arising from the gains at Shannon Airport, which we believe will be the pivot for the entire group. We have four units operating as individual entities that will work cohesively for the common good of the wider region.”
The Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, Cllr. John Crowe says Shannon Airport and the surrounding Free Zone have “never been better placed than now to generate new business.”
Cllr. John Crowe commented: “Ever since autonomy was granted to Shannon Airport there has been a sizeable growth in passenger numbers and new services. Likewise, the fortunes of the Shannon Free Zone and businesses based there have improved considerably during the past 18 months. Furthermore, tourism figures throughout the Mid West Region are also on the rise which is no small part down to the strong leadership that has been shown by those behind the positive developments that have taken place in Shannon.”
He continued: “The Minister’s formal establishment of the new entity will also allow management to advance the IASC project, which will focus on further developing the existing cluster of aviation related businesses, employing 1,600 people, at Shannon into a globally significant aerospace cluster. This project will complement the progress being made by other elements within Shannon Group plc.”
“I wish everyone associated with Shannon Group plc the very best and I hope they will work together to as a dynamic entity that brings both Shannon and the wider region forward economically in the years to come,” Cllr. Crowe concluded.
Clare Senator Tony Mulcahy has welcomed the setting up of Shannon Group plc which has assumed responsibility for the management and development of Shannon Airport and its surrounding landbank.
Senator Mulcahy said: “The establishment of Shannon Group plc comes 12 months after the Government approved the drafting of the Shannon Aviation Services and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2013 and results in the existing shareholdings held by the Government in both Shannon Development and Shannon Airport Authority being transferred to the new entity. This is a milestone moment for Shannon and one that will inject huge confidence in the business and tourism sectors throughout the region.”
The Cathaoirleach of Limerick City and County Council has said the formal establishment of Shannon Group plc will help to reinvigorate the local economy and tourism in Limerick, as well as inspire the strong sense of entrepreneurship associated with the glory days of Shannon Airport and its surrounding freezone.
Councillor Kevin Sheahan said: “Management of the Shannon Group have already made considerable progress in boosting passenger figures and expanding services at Shannon since autonomy was achieved in late 2012, while the local aviation sector has also experienced expansion in the past 18 months. Locally, tourism figures have been significantly buoyed by this growth. I think the formal establishment of Shannon Group plc will give management the space and confidence to build on their impressive progress to date.”
Cllr. Sheahan said he believed that the quality connectivity being provided now and in the future by Shannon International Airport will be of “significant benefit to Limerick not only for the obvious tourism benefits but for investment opportunities also”.
“Limerick’s abundance of highly skilled graduates from the three local third level institutions, quality broadband infrastructure, quality connectivity to the eastern seaboard and close proximity to Shannon Airport makes it an ideal location for investment. We have already seen a number of investments by multinationals in Limerick in recent months which I have no doubt is in part down to the improved connectivity at Shannon Airport brought about since independence from the Dublin Airport Authority was achieved,” Cllr. Sheahan concluded.