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Minutes of Special Meeting of Clare County Council

Location:  Held in the Council Chamber, Áras Contae an Chláir, New Road, Ennis, Co. Clare and via MS Teams

On:      Monday, 24th April 2023

Time:  1:30 p.m.



M. Howard, J. Flynn, C. Colleran Molloy, P. Murphy, A. Norton, P. Daly,
T. O’Callaghan, J. Cooney, A. O’Callaghan, T. O’Brien, J. Crowe, M. Begley, P.J. Ryan,
P. McMahon, G. Flynn, P. O’Gorman, S. Talty, J. Killeen, J. Garrihy, P.J. Kelly,
B. Chambers, C. Murphy.


  • Mr. Pat Dowling, Chief Executive.
  • Ms. Ann Reynolds, Meetings Administrator.
  • Ms. Margaret O’Rourke, A/Staff Officer, Corporate Services.
  • Mr. Leonard Cleary, Director of Rural Development.
  • Ms. Noeleen Fitzgerald, Director of Finance and Support Services.
  • Dr. Carmel Kirby, Director of Economic Development.
  • Ms. Siobhán McNulty, A/Director of Physical Development.
  • Mr. Jason Murphy, A/Director of Service, Ukrainian Response Team.
  • Ms. Deirdre O’Shea, A/Head of Tourism.
  • Mr. Donnacha Lynch, Head of Commercial Services, Shannon Heritage.

Present via MS Teams:

  • Cllrs. P. Hayes, D. McGettigan, L. Grant, G. Keating, I. Lynch.


Cllr. P. Burke.


Cathaoirleach, Cllr. T. O’Brien presided.

 Consider the Transfer of Shannon Heritage Designated Activity Company (DAC) and associated Clare Tourism sits from Shannon Airport Group to Clare County Council

The Cathaoirleach, Cllr. T. O’Brien presided and he outlined that this special meeting had been convened specifically to consider the transfer of Shannon Heritage Designated Activity Company (DAC) and associated Clare Tourism sites from Shannon Airport Group to Clare County Council.

P. Dowling, Chief Executive addressed the meeting and thanked the Cathaoirleach and members for convening this statutory meeting.  Mr. Dowling noted that the members had access to the full report detailing his recommendation concerning a unique opportunity for Clare and a strategic and ambitions acquisition for Clare County Council.  Mr. Dowling stated that this marks the completion of two years work and completion of the due diligence process.

Mr. Dowling continued that this meeting seeks endorsement from Clare County Council and following this, legal matters can be finalised in order to sign the SPA (Shared Purchase Agreement) and he stated that efforts to mitigate any future risks have been taken.

Mr. Dowling referred to the briefings that have taken place and thanked the members for their ongoing support.  Mr. Dowling stated that records show that there have been calls from the Council Chamber, going back over ten years, that Clare County Council is best placed to run such facilities and stated that he is now happy to potentially bring that objective closer to reality.

Mr. Dowling thanked the Cathaoirleach, elected members, the project team namely Noeleen Fitzgerald, Director of Finance and Support Services, Leonard Cleary, Director of Rural Development, Deirdre O’Shea, A/Head of Tourism, Donnacha Lynch, Head of Commercial Services, Shannon Heritage, Management Team, Oireachtas Members, Department of Tourism, Department of Housing, OPW, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Department of Finance and Minister of State Jack Chambers – all of whom were instrumental in obtaining the Government funding package to enable this transfer.  Mr. Dowling also acknowledged the collaboration with the Chief Executive Officer and Management at Shannon Airport Group.

Mr. Dowling thanked the staff of Shannon Heritage, who he had the pleasure of meeting on a number of occasions, for their patience and resilience during many times of uncertainty and assured them of Clare County Council’s best intentions at all times.

Mr. Dowling concluded by assuring the elected members that a full forensic, detailed analysis and expert advice has been central to this development and awaited the members direction.

Cathaoirleach, Cllr. T. O’Brien acknowledged the representatives of Shannon Heritage workers present in the public gallery and thanked them for their patience in this process.  Cllr. O’Brien assured them that their concerns have always been forthright in the Council forum.  Cathaoirleach, Cllr. O’Brien thanked the Chief Executive, and the negotiation team and all who have worked to get to this iconic day for Clare County Council and Shannon Heritage.


Cathaoirleach, Cllr. T. O’Brien then invited the elected members to participate in the discussion. 

The elected members were unanimous in complimenting Pat Dowling, Chief Executive, Noeleen Fitzgerald, Director of Finance and Support Services, Leonard Cleary, Director of Rural Development, Deirdre O’Shea, A/Head of Tourism and Donnacha Lynch, Head of Commercial Services, Shannon Heritage for their work on the complex negotiations which led to this positive resolution.  The members acknowledged that it will take time to reach the optimum result and felt that this is the best way forward for Shannon Heritage. The members agreed that the Shannon Heritage staff are a very important part of this project and thanked their representatives for attending the meeting. 

The importance of maintaining, managing and protecting our heritage, tourism and culture was outlined by the members.  The members felt that the entire county will prosper from this tourist enhancement and that Clare will be the primary destination for tourism in Ireland.  The members noted that Clare County Council will now become the biggest operator of tourist attractions in the country and agreed that this needs to be leveraged properly so that tourists will stay in the county.  It was also felt that transport and connectivity issues should be examined in order to optimise visitors to our tourist attractions and towns and villages. 

The elected members thanked Minister of State, Jack Chambers and the Government Departments for their support.

Cllr. G. Flynn noted that Shannon Group are retaining a sizeable amount of land and felt that this needs to be addressed as this land will be required for future expansion.

Ar moladh Cllr. P. McMahon
Cuidithe ag Cllr. P.J. Ryan agus glacadh leis

“The transfer of the entire issued share capital of Shannon Heritage Designated Activity Company (DAC) and associated Clare tourism sites from Shannon Commercial Enterprises DAC to Clare County Council and approval to:

  • Sign the Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) and the associated legal documentation
  • Sign the Property Contract.
  • Establish the related governance and legal structures as required under legislation, including Clare Tourism DAC.”
  1. Dowling, Chief Executive thanked the elected members for their comments and considerations and stated that the Clare County Council logo translates as “True To Our Heritage” and he felt that this is symbolic today for the organisation.  Mr. Dowling undertook to complete the legal agreement and keep the members updated.


The meeting then concluded.

Riarthóir Cruinnithe


Date: _____________________________

Page last reviewed: 29/05/23

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