The former Chairman and CEO of Aer Arann, Pádraig Ó Céidigh, is to be appointed the new Chairperson of the Shannon Group.

The announcement of the new chair was made by Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan at Cabinet this morning. He will take up his role for three years after his appearance before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications.

Mr Ó Céidigh has had extensive experience in the aviation sector, leading Aer Arann for 26 years, as well as experience in both the public and private sectors - he served on the boards of Fáilte Ireland, RTÉ and An Bord Iascaigh Mhara.

He is also a former Senator serving in the Seanad from 2016 to 2020 and is a native Irish speaker and an alumni of both NUIG and Harvard University.

Mr Ó Céidigh replaces Rose Hynes who served as Chair of the Shannon group board from 2013 to 2020.

Her proposed replacement caused controversy last February when it was announced that Aaron Forde, chief executive of agri business Aurivo was to become chair.

However, his appointment did not go ahead after it emerged he was the author of a number of unacceptable tweets on social media.

Announcing the appointment of Mr Ó Céidigh, Minister Ryan said he would bring his extensive experience and sectoral knowledge to this important role, at what is a challenging time for Shannon Group and the aviation sector.

"I am pleased that Pádraig Ó Céidigh will be the new Chairperson of Shannon Group plc. Pádraig brings a wealth of experience from the aviation sector, as an entrepreneur and as a board member, and I am confident that he will be a good fit in this role with Shannon Group. I wish him every success as he takes on the challenge of leading the company out of the pandemic towards a brighter future."

The appointment has also been welcomed by Shannon group CEO Mary Considine, who said his wealth of business experience in the aviation sector will be of immense support to the Shannon group.

"Our focus now is on continuing to rebuild vital air services for the people and businesses in this regions who rely on Shannon for air connectivity. There is a long journey ahead for aviation recovery, but I am confident that with the right supports and the hard work of the entire team we will see Shannon thrive again."

Mr Ó Céidigh said Shannon Airport is a vital economic engine for the Shannon Region and wider west of Ireland economy.

"It is imperative that Shannon Group is supported in its recovery, and I am deeply committed to working with the CEO and Board to ensure this happens. The revitalisation of the airport is important not only for the staff who work there, but for the thousands of people who rely on Shannon's air connectivity for their business and livelihoods," he added.