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Shannon Airport appoints four new board directors

07 March 2013

The Chairman and management of Shannon Airport Authority have welcomed the appointment of four new members to the board of the SAA.

The new appointees are US based public policy consultant and transport expert Kathryn O’Leary Higgins, Managing Director of Clare FM and Tipp FM radio stations Liam O’Shea and Shannon Airport worker- directors Joe Buckley (Cargo & Technical Traffic Development Manager) and Kevin McCarthy (Airport Police Fire Officer). 

The four new directors join existing board members Chairman Rose Hynes, Airport Director Mary Considine and Pat Dalton, Chief Financial Officer of One51.

Ms Hynes said:  “I welcome these board appointments. The new directors provide us with the type of expertise and experience that is required to deliver the strategic vision for the airport, which is around achieving significant passenger growth and the development of the International Aviation Services Centre at Shannon over the next five years.  “I look forward to working with the new board members at this exciting and challenging time for Shannon Airport."

Mary Considine, Airport Director said:  “I also welcome the new directors. We are actively pursuing a range of opportunities at present and have started on a positive note with the commencement of a range of new services over the coming months to attractive destinations such as Faro in Portugal, Philadelphia, Chicago and Glasgow, and return of seasonal services to the likes of New York and Boston.”


Biographies of new appointees
Kathryn O’Leary Higgins

President of the Higgins Company, which she established in 2009, Kathryn O’Leary Higgins is a public policy expert with specific expertise in transport.  Kathryn spent 34 years working in the public sector in various US Government Departments.

In 2006 she was one of five Board Members appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate to lead the nation’s independent transportation accident investigation agency.  

Prior to that, in 2004, she served as President/CEO of TACT Consulting, whose principle client was the U.S. Department of Labor.  She was Vice President for Public Policy from 1999 to 2004 at the National Trust for Historic Preservation and from 1997 to 1999 was Deputy Secretary at the US Department of Labor, serving as the chief operating officer of the Department of Labor, with responsibility for 16,700 employees and a budget of $34.6 billion ($10.6 billion in discretionary programs).  Duties included planning and implementing the President’s the Secretary’s and Congressional policy and legislative priorities including: $3 billion welfare-to-work initiative and reform of the nation’s workforce development system initiative to expand pension benefits for workers

From January to May, 1999 she was also Vice Chair on the Presidential Council on US Coast Guard Roles and Missions and was Acting Chair from October 1997 to May 1998 of the National Endowment for the Arts.  

From February 1995 to 1997 she served as the President’s principal liaison to his Cabinet and sub-Cabinet.  This role included facilitating and promoting communication between the White House and the Cabinet agencies through regular meetings with the Chiefs of Staff to the Cabinet, frequent meetings with the Cabinet and the President’s Chief of Staff and regular meetings with the President and the Cabinet.  From 1993 to 1995 she served as Chief of Staff, Secretary of Labor in the US Department of Labor.  This role saw her serve as serve as principal policy and political advisor to the Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich for his first two years in office.  She also served as Administrative Assistant/Chief of Staff to Congressman Sander Levin in the US House of Representatives from 1986 to 1993 and Minority Staff Director at the Senate Labour and Human Resources Committee from 1982 to 1986.

From 1981 to September 1982 she was Senior Legislative Associate to Senator Edward Kennedy on the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee.   Prior to that, from 1978 to 1981, she was Assistant Director for Employment Policy on the White House Domestic Policy Council.  She was also Manpower Specialist with the Employment and Training Administration at the US Department of Labor from 1969 to 1978.

Liam O’Shea
Liam O’ Shea is current Managing Director of both Clare FM and Tipp FM and former Chairman of Clare FM.  He joined Clare FM in 1998, quickly turning it from a loss-making to commercially successful and multi award winning station. Under his guidance the station has won numerous prestigious Radio Awards including PPI Radio Station of the Year for 2011, many other PPI Awards, an ESB Media Award, a Pan Celtic Radio and Television Award, a New York Festivals Award, several BCI New Adventures in Broadcasting Awards, plus many, many more.

In 2011, he was responsible for the purchase, refurbishment, and installation, of one of the most high-tech Digital Broadcasting Centres in the country and managed the seamless transfer of Clare FM to those Studios with no break in output.

His appointment as dual MD of Tipp and Clare FM took place in 2012 when he initiated a unique alliance between the stations which has seen them share resources, therefore achieving significant and critical cost savings at a time of considerable contraction in the industry. This is a model that is now being looked at by other companies, both broadcast and otherwise, with a view to reducing operating costs.  Liam is also Chairman, and a Director, of Spin South West, the number one youth Radio Station for the South West. Spin South West has, in a few short years, become the most listened to radio stations by the youth of Limerick, Kerry, Clare, North Tipperary, and South Laois.  Liam O’ Shea is one of the founding members, and a former Director, of Newstalk radio station, one of the most popular ‘talk’ stations in the country.  Liam spent twelve years in the Middle East where he was Sound Director for Saudi Arabia’s Channel 3 Radio and Television Station, based in Dhahran. He was very much part of the world media coverage of the Gulf War in 1990/91 working with CNN and several other media outlets. He travelled extensively in his work through the Far East, Australia, Europe and the US during his time in the Middle East.

Prior to going to the Middle East, he was employed by RTE, from 1972 to 1986, working across all areas of the business.  During those years he was very much part of the pioneering days of Raidió na Gaeltachta, based in Casla in Connemara, where he spent four years.

Well known in GAA circles, Liam played Minor and Senior hurling for Tipperary and, at club level, for Thurles Sarsfields and for Kilruane MacDonaghs ,his home club, whom he captained to their three in a row County Senior Hurling Championships. He was part of the management team when they captured the All Ireland Senior Hurling Club Championship in 1985/86.  Liam is a Communications graduate of Kevin St., College of Technology in Dublin.  He is a Full Member of the Institute of Directors in Ireland and a Full Member of the Institute of Professional Sound in the UK.

Pat Dalton

Pat Dalton (FCA, AITI) joined the One51 Group in 2012 as Chief Financial Officer and was appointed an Executive Director to the Board on 31 December 2012. Pat worked for GPA Group plc from 1992 and was ultimately appointed CFO of debis AirFinance B.V, which acquired GPA Group plc in 2000. He was then CFO of Bord Gáis from 2002, before joining Menolly Property as CFO in 2006. Pat is a graduate of University College Dublin, is a non-executive director of the Irish Aviation Authority, a member of their Audit Committee and chairs the Authority’s Investment and Planning Committee.

Joe Buckley

Joe Buckley joined Shannon Airport in 1978 and has held a number of roles within Airport Operations and Business Development. Positions included the Airport Terminal Manager where he was responsible for terminal and landside operations.  In 2007 he was appointed to the new role of Cargo & Technical Traffic Development Manager for Shannon.  Mr. Buckley was an early advocate of extending US preclearance to Business Aviation and played a key role in the subsequent opening of the world’s first US preclearance facility for Business Jets at Shannon. This allows passengers on Business Jets to pre-clear US Immigration & Customs at Shannon and fly directly to 220 US airports. He has positioned Shannon as the number one airport for technical stops by Business Jets on the North Atlantic and a number of specialist international handlers such as Jetex, Signature Flight Support and Universal Aviation now provide services at the airport.  Joe was previously a director on the Shannon Airport Authority Board from 2004 until 2011.  In 2012 he was recently appointed by the Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport to the Shannon Change Management Task Force.  

Kevin McCarthy

Kevin McCarthy, a native of Cork, has spent 32 years working in Shannon Airport’s Police and Fire Service.  A SIPTU representative for that time also, he is currently President of the union’s National Civil Aviation Section, Chairman of its National Aviation Committee and President of its Shannon Aviation Section.  
Kevin has a Diploma in Arboriculture, a H.Dip in Employment Law and a Diploma in Forensic Psychology.  He is a Director of Mid West Sporting Supplies Business and , Mid West Tree Serivces Ltd.  He is current Chairman of the Gun Trade Association and a member of the Department of Justice Firearms Consultative group. Kevin’s current position at Shannon Airport is Airport Police and Fire Officer.

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