Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has announced that he will not be proceeding with the appointment of Aaron Forde as chair of Shannon Group.

In a phone conversation this evening, Mr Ryan indicated that Mr Forde's use of social media was below the standard expected of the chair of a State board.

"This is an important time for Shannon Group which has to chart a way through the crisis caused by the pandemic and plan for recovery.

"The Department of Transport will work to appoint a new chair as quickly as possible," the minister said. 

In a letter to Minister Ryan, Aaron Forde said he had reflected on his position and decided to withdraw his appointment as chairperson of Shannon Group Plc.

He wrote that he wished to apologise unreservedly for remarks he made on Twitter which have become the subject of focus. 

"The language used in a particular Tweet was wrong, insensitive and needless. I am truly sorry."

He added that he wished to apologise in particular  to people from the Traveller community. 

Mr Forde said that throughout a 30-year career he had always sought to contribute professionally and thoughtfully. 

"As those who know me best will attest to, I am a passionate believer in the economic and social advancement of the country and the important contribution we can all make," he said.

Earlier today, Mr Forde had been named as the new Chairman of the board of Shannon Group. He was due to join the board for a period of five years.

Mr Forde was Chief Executive of agri-business Aurivo for 16 years until he stepped down at the end of 2019.

He has previous board experience as Chairman of Ornua from 2013-2019, the Sligo Economic Forum, IBEC, Mid-west radio and the External Advisory Board of Institute of Technology, Sligo.

He is also a director of a number of private companies and An Bord Iascaigh Mhara.