Wednesday, 7 October 2020
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
39. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the way in which the details of the €2.6 million funding grant to a company (details supplied) was distributed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29234/20]
40. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has allocated the €2.6 million to a company (details supplied) as announced in August 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29235/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 39 to 41, inclusive, and 50 together.
I would like to thank the Deputy for her questions, some of which have been forwarded for my attention by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, in relation to Shannon Group and Shannon Heritage, which is part of Shannon Group.
The Deputy will be aware that I have committed to undertake an examination of the future viability and sustainability of Shannon Group, and I will consider financial supports and any other measures that may be necessary and appropriate as part of this wider review of Shannon Group. I will be bringing recommendations to Government in this regard shortly.
With regard to Shannon Heritage, at the end of August, with the agreement of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Minister of State Naughton committed to provide funding to Shannon Group to ensure that both Bunratty Castle and Folkpark and King John’s Castle could remain open to the end of 2020. Minister Naughton made the decision to provide this funding when she was advised that Shannon Group had made a decision to close these two castles at the end of August.
It was originally envisaged that a sum of €2.6m was required to keep these two attractions open, however, following engagement between my Department and Shannon Group it has been established that the necessary funding required is in the region of €550,000.
There is no doubt on the importance of these two landmark tourist attractions to the local economy and region and both Minister Naughton and I are committed to ensuring that the appropriate supports are provided so that the sites can remain open until the end of the year, ensuring the continued employment for 52 employees at these sites who would otherwise have been laid off by Shannon Heritage at the end of August.
It is my intention that Shannon Group will be well positioned for the future particularly given the importance of Shannon Airport to the economy of the Midwest region.