Members of Clare County Council are seeking representation on the board of Shannon Group.
Independent Cllr Gerry Flynn put forward a motion at the July meeting of the local authority that would see Clare County Council represented on the commercial semi-state company. His proposal read “In view of the importance of the Shannon Group PLC to Clare and the Midwest Region, particularly with regard to Shannon International Airport, job creation, industrial, tourism and property briefs, to ask An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, to ensure that the Government provides this Council with a representative role on the board of the Shannon Group”.
At present there are nine individuals on the board of Shannon Group plc. They include Rose Hynes (Chairperson), Matthew Thomas (CEO), Tony Brazil, Liam O’Shea, Joe Buckley, Kathryn O’Leary Higgins, Michael Leydon, Kevin McCarthy and Tom Coughlan.
Flynn gave his view that the current information received by elected members leaves a lot to be desired and described the situation as “working in a vacuum”. Fellow Independent PJ Ryan supported Flynn by saying a two way system was needed.
Current board member Tom Coughlan is the former CEO of Clare County Council. Newmarket-on-Fergus Cllr Pat McMahon said he had faith in Coughlan to represent the local authority. He stated Shannon Airport has a well-known tradition and added that it was the only airport with tourist attractions.
Ian Lynch commented that “someone needs to be answerable in this chamber” while Fine Gael’s Joe Cooney stressed that it was vital for Clare that a local representative is on the board. His party colleague John Crowe praised the work of the existing board.
Christy Curtin suggested a member of the Shannon Municipal District represent the Council if the situation was to arise. Fianna Fáil’s Clare Colleran-Molloy queried if the Limerick local authorities had similar representatives, the answer being no, she is happy for Tom Coughlan to remain on the board but doesn’t think it will serve Clare County Council.
When speaking to The Clare Herald, Gerry Flynn recalled a previous debate with Coughlan during his time as CEO in highlighting that the retired Mayo native is not a delegate for the Council on the board.
“I did have a debate with him (Tom Coughlan) questioning his terms of reference on the board and it was made quite clear to me that he didn’t represent Clare County Council so it’s the first request that has come from Clare County Council and it’s going direct to the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and I’m asking Enda Kenny to make sure Clare County Council is represented on the board because Shannon Airport is crucial to the survival not alone of Co Clare and economic activity but the western seaboard and our neighbouring counties of Limerick and Galway and right up along into Sligo and Leitrim aswell”.
Flynn stated he would be more than happy to be the Council representative on the board of Shannon Group plc. “I’m putting my CV forward for the position and I’m sure they’d love to have me” he remarked.