Gatwick takes Shannon’s lead by opening sensory room

Gatwick takes Shannon’s lead by opening sensory room


Photo: Diarmuid Greene/True Media

Shannon Airport has reiterated its call to other airports around Europe to establish sensory rooms after Gatwick Airport followed its lead yesterday by doing exactly that.

Shannon opened Europe’s first sensory room in March of last year for children and adults with neurodevelopmental challenges including autism, and has since facilitated visits by airports around the world that are exploring Shannon’s lead. Among them was Gatwick Airport, which yesterday opened the UK’s first such room.

Welcoming Gatwick’s initiative, Matthew Thomas, CEO, Shannon Group plc which operates Shannon Airport said: “We congratulate Gatwick Airport on this wonderful achievement. We know from opening our own airport Sensory room in March 2017 that the Gatwick Sensory room will be a tremendous assistance to passengers with autism and special needs.

“We already have well-established Ryanair services between Shannon and Gatwick airports, and the new Gatwick Sensory room means that a trip between the two airports will be even more user-friendly. With the sensory rooms in operation at either end of the journey to and from the UK, we are making it easier for passengers who need these facilities. Having them can mean a huge difference for passengers with neurodevelopmental challenges.”

Last year when the Shannon Airport Sensory room was opened, Shannon urged other Irish and international airports to get on board and provide similar facilities at airports around the world.

“We realised that it was one thing for Shannon to put these provisions in place but if other airports participated in this programme, then it would mean that when the passenger arrive on the other side they also get special treatment. That would be a huge gift to people with special needs and their families,” said Andrew Murphy, Managing Director, Shannon Airport.

“The response this drew from the aviation community was astounding. Since establishing our Sensory room we have received over 30 enquiries from airport’s, Government agencies and sporting venues around the world, including Gatwick Airport, looking for advice and guidelines on how best to establish an airport Sensory room. We were delighted to assist Gatwick and we wish them every success. Our offer to assist other airports who might be thinking of following suit still stands,” Mr Murphy concluded.

Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.