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Appointment of new chair of Shannon Group cancelled as 'use of social media below standard expected'

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan had announced the appointment of Aaron Forde in a statement earlier today.

Aaron Forde
Aaron Forde
Image: Department of Transport

TRANSPORT MINISTER EAMON Ryan has announced he will not be proceeding with the appointment of Aaron Forde as chair of the Shannon Group.

Ryan had initially announced the appointment of Forde as the new chairperson in a statement earlier today.

However, Ryan confirmed in a statement this evening that he won’t be proceeding with Forde’s appointment.

“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,” a spokesperson for Ryan said.

“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 chair as quickly as possible.”
Independent.ie this evening reported that Forde deleted his Twitter account after the news outlet asked him about comments he made about the Green Party, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and social welfare recipients.

In a letter of resignation to Minister Ryan this evening, Forde said: “I wish to apologise unreservedly for remarks I 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.”

Forde said he wanted to, in particular, “apologise to people from the traveller community”.

“I wish to also apologise to you personally and your government colleagues for the inconvenience and distraction this has caused at what is a crucial time for the country,” he said.

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“I wish everyone associated with Shannon Group Plc every success. It is a crucial organisation with an important regional, national and international remit. I will continue to be a strong supporter of the team’s efforts into the future,” Forde added.

Forde has previous board experience as Chairman of Ornua from 2013 to 2019, the Sligo Economic Forum, IBEC, Mid-west radio and the external advisory Board of Institute of Technology, Sligo.

Shannon Group has been contacted for comment.

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