Clare TD Joe Carey has welcomed the appointment of businessman Aaron Forde as chairperson of the Shannon Group.

Deputy Carey, who is chair of the Shannon Airport Oireachtas Group, said Mr Forde faces a “mammoth task” ahead as he prepares to try and steer the group through these turbulent times and back on a pathway to growth.

The role of Shannon Group chairperson has been vacant since August, when Rose Hynes stepped down following six years in the position.

The local Fine Gael TD said: “I welcome Mr Forde’s appointment at this crucial point in Shannon Airport’s history. Mr Forde has an enormous task ahead leading the Shannon Group during these extremely challenging times and I look forward to engaging with him soon as chair of the all-party Shannon Airport Oireachtas Committee.

“As we know, operations at Shannon Airport have been decimated as a result of the pandemic but long before the fallout from the coronavirus Shannon was not reaching it’s potential. Working together we must do absolutely everything in our power to ensure that the Shannon Group returns on a pathway to growth in the years ahead.” The Clarecastle-based TD added: “The importance of Shannon Airport cannot be understated: the airport is one of the main economic pillars in Clare and the entire Mid-West and Western regions, providing employment for thousands of people directly and indirectly. The air connectivity it provides is vital for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) companies operating throughout the Mid-West and for our entire tourism and hospitality sectors right along the West Coast.”