Clare TD Joe Carey has demanded an “urgent meeting” with Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to discuss the “sorry saga” over the failure to appoint a new chairperson to the Shannon Group.

It comes as Minister Ryan confirmed he would not be proceeding with the appointment of businessman Aaron Forde as chair of the group. Mr Forde withdrew his appointment as chairperson of the Shannon Group after a controversy erupted over remarks he made on social media.

The position of chair of the Shannon Group has now been vacant for six months since Rose Hynes stood down from the role.

In a letter to Minister Ryan last night, Deputy Carey, who is chair of the all-party Shannon Airport Oireachtas Group, said he is seeking “an urgent meeting with you together with Government Oireachtas members in the Mid-West Region”.

The local Fine Gael TD wrote: “The events of this evening are extremely disappointing to say the very least. It is incredible that a person selected for such an important role would have to step down just a few hours after his appointment. This sorry saga does not reflect well on the selection process and is another set-back coming at a critical period for Shannon Airport.”

Deputy Carey said Shannon Airport is “an engine of growth which is critical to the wellbeing of the entire Mid-West and Western Regions”.

The Clarecastle-based TD pointed out that operations at Shannon have been “decimated” as a result of the pandemic. But he added: “Long before the fallout from the coronavirus was felt it was clear that the airport was not reaching its potential.

“We need an extremely capable person to take on the role of Chairperson of Shannon Group, somebody who understands that Shannon is much more than just an Airport, who can chart a course to recovery and develop plans to deliver on its potential adding more passengers, more routes and more destinations.

“A new Chairperson of the Board must also have the ability to bring stakeholders together in the interest of Shannon Airport and the Region.”