During a special meeting held at Áras Contae an Chláir in Ennis, Clare County Council agreed to the multi-annual support package proposed by government to facilitate the takeover of Bunratty Castle & Folk Park, Craggaunowen, Knappogue Castle and the Cliffs of Moher gift shop.
Cllr Tony O'Brien, cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, said, "The acceptance of this multi-annual support package represents a significant moment for Clare tourism as it paves the way for some of Clare’s best known visitor attractions to become part of the management and marketing of a much broader Clare tourism portfolio that also includes the Cliffs of Moher Experience, Vandeleur Walled Gardens, Inis Cealtra (Holy Island) Visitor Experience and Loop Head Lighthouse Visitor Centre."
"The transfer will be very much welcomed by staff of Shannon Heritage, the wider Clare tourism sector and tourists who will undoubtedly benefit from the newly acquired attractions getting a new lease of life under the auspices of Clare County Council," added Cllr O'Brien.
Pat Dowling, chief executive of Clare County Council, commented, "I want to thank the elected members of Clare County Council and County Clare's Oireachtas members for their support throughout the process, as well as acknowledge the cooperation of government in identifying a funding support package to enable the transfer to proceed."
Dowling said it is anticipated that the official transfer of the Clare-based staff and visitor attractions of Shannon Heritage DAC will take place shortly following the conclusion of ongoing discussions between Clare County Council, The Shannon Airport Group and department officials regarding regulatory issues.
Mary Considine, CEO, The Shannon Airport Group, said, "We welcome today's announcement, and I would like to sincerely thank our Shannon Heritage staff for their dedication and loyalty to the business over the years.
"We are pleased that, subject to the formal consent of the minister, Clare County Council will be the next custodian of these nationally important visitor sites, and I would like to wish all Shannon Heritage staff and the council every success in the years ahead. We look forward to maintaining an important relationship with them into the future. We will do this by continuing to grow vital air services that bring international tourists to these visitor sites and Ireland."
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