THE nomination of former Ryanair Commercial Director Conal Henry as Chairperson Designate of the Shannon Group has been described by Clare Fine Gael TD Joe Carey as a significant development in the region’s recovery from the Covid pandemic.

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan confirmed his intention to appoint Mr Henry to the position of Chairperson of Shannon Group in succession to Pádraig Ó Céidigh who resigned from the role last week.

Mr Henry is expected to be formally appointed following his appearance before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications which, Deputy Carey says, should be arranged at the earliest opportunity. 

Welcoming Minister Ryan’s announcement, Deputy Carey, who is Chairman of the Shannon Airport Oireachtas Group, said that in addition to his experience of the aviation and transport sectors, Mr Henry has held senior management positions in a broad range of commercial enterprises.

“He also has a deep understanding of the Mid West and Western Regions from his time as chief executive of Enet, the Limerick-based telecommunications service provider and has also served on the Board of Shannon Foynes Port Company.

“He will be taking up the position at an important juncture for the Shannon Group in term of rebuilding passenger traffic, routes and destinations in a post pandemic world. He will also be responsible for building on the transformational work in the Shannon Free Zone by securing further investments and overseeing the transfer of Shannon Heritage sites.

“I believe it’s timely that a full review of the Shannon Group structures is undertaken now given the loss of two chief executives and two Chairpersons in such a short time. This review should take no longer than three months and be undertaken by a professional organisation who are at arm’s length from the Group. 

“Such a report should be presented to the Minister and Department and the recommendations acted upon in a speedy manner. We need to understand why the Shannon Group has lost such good people and learn from these setbacks in the interest of the Airport and the Regions it serves.

“Mr Henry is facing a really challenging role but he is more than up to the task and I look forward to working with him closely in the time ahead, Deputy Carey concluded.

PHOTO: Shannon Group Chairman Designate Conal Henry