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

Earlier on Tuesday, Minister Ryan announced that he would be appointing Forde to chair the group.

In a phone conversation on Tuesday evening, Minister Ryan indicated that Forde’s “use of social media was below the standard expected of the chairperson of a state board,” the Government said in a statement.

“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 chairperson as quickly as possible,” it said.

Letter of resignation

In a letter to Minister Ryan on Tuesday evening, Forde said he had reflected on his position and "decided to withdraw" from his appointment as chair of Shannon Group Plc.

"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.

"In particular, I wish to 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.

I am a passionate believer in the economic and social advancement of the country

"Throughout my over 30-year career to date, I have always strived to contribute professionally and thoughtfully in everything I do.

"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.

Forde said that he has been "an advocate for balanced regional development for decades" and said that Shannon Group "is a crucial organisation with an important regional, national and international remit".

"In conclusion, thank you for giving me the privilege of being selected to serve as a chair of a State authority. I extend once more my regret and apologies," he concluded.

Shannon Group is comprised of the Shannon Airport Authority, Shannon Heritage, International Aviation Services Centre (IASC) and Shannon Properties.

Its aim is to deliver economic benefits for the Shannon/Limerick area, west of Ireland and the wider national economy.

Bord Iascaigh Mhara and Aurivo

Forde also sits on the board of Bord Iascaigh Mhara, the country’s Bord Bia equivalent for fish. He is currently in year one of a three-year term.

Forde is the former CEO of Aurivo, a post he held for 16 years before stepping down at the end of 2019.

He was chair of Ornua from 2013 to 2019 and currently sits on a number of other boards.