Pádraig O’Céidigh quits as Shannon chair after less than six months

O’Céidigh did not comment on suggestion of friction with group’s management team

The former senator and one-time owner of Aer Arann, Galway businessman Pádraig O'Céidigh, has resigned as chairman of Shannon Group after less than six months in the role. Mr O'Céidigh's decision to quit his non-executive roles at the owner of Shannon Airport followed a number of disagreements with members of the group's management team, it is understood.

In addition to its aviation interests, Shannon Group also owns Bunratty Castle and has a commercial property division.

Mr O’Céidigh confirmed he had resigned from his role but declined to comment on the reasons why. He also chose not to comment on the suggestion of friction with the management team.

Local radio station, Clare FM, reported that he said it would be “more than a full-time job to do the role to the degree and detail required, given the circumstances, to get the airport to reach its potential”.


“It is no secret that he felt an executive chairman role was needed,” said Michael McNamara, Independent TD for Clare. “That didn’t come to pass. It is a setback for the airport.”

Fianna Fáil Senator, Timmy Dooley, has previously argued that there was “precedent” for appointing executive chairpersons to State companies where circumstances demanded it.

Sources said Shannon is considering a sale of Bunratty Castle. Mr McNamara said the commercial property division of the group is doing well. However, he said he is “worried” about whether the airport will receive “sufficient focus” in the group in the period ahead.

“Recovery from the pandemic is going to be a struggle for Shannon,” he said. The airport recently welcomed the relaunch of transatlantic flights.

Shannon Group's chief executive, Mary Considine, thanked Mr O'Céidigh for his contribution and wished him well. The group was asked to comment on the friction between senior managers and Mr O'Céidigh, but it had not yet provided a response to this by the time of publication.

Filling the position of Shannon Group chair has proved troublesome for Eamon Ryan, the Minister for Transport. Aaron Forde, who was his nominee last February to succeed the previous chair Rose Hynes, apologised over social media posts about Travellers and his appointment was pulled hours after it was agreed by Cabinet. Six months later, Mr O'Céidigh agreed to take on the role.

A spokeswoman for Mr Ryan said he was travelling and uncontactable when asked to comment on the reports of friction between Mr O’Céidigh and management.

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is London Correspondent for The Irish Times