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New Appointments to Board of Ireland West Airport Knock
By Orla Gibney
4, Jan 2007 - 20:33

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Ireland West Airport Knock is pleased to announce a number of recent appointments to its board. The appointments are Mr. Arthur French, CEO of French Estates, Ms. Lisa McAllister nominee of the Western Development Commission, and Mr Ulick McEvaddy, MD of Omega Air. These appointments follow other appointments to the Airport’s Board in the last year who include Mr. John Travers, Business and Economic Consultant, and the Rev. Monsignor Joseph Quinn, P.P. Knock, who replaced the late Monsignor Dominick Grealy. The new appointments will significantly increase the collateral of knowledge and expertise in the areas of infrastructural development, tourism and aviation business at Ireland’s fourth international airport.

Commenting on the appointments Mr. Joseph Kennedy, Chairman, Ireland West Airport Knock said: "2006 was a milestone year for Ireland West Airport Knock as it celebrated its 20th year and passenger numbers surpassed 621,000. At Ireland West Airport Knock there is a strong vision for the future and ambitious goals have been set. The Airport continues to go from strength to strength thanks to the efforts of the existing board. However, the additional knowledge and expertise from these influential appointments will strengthen and enrich our position as a leading player in our region’s development as well as the Irish and international aviation and tourism markets."

Arthur French

Mr. Arthur French also a native of County Mayo is one of Ireland’s most prominent auctioneers. He established French Estates in 1975. Arthur has been involved in a number of high profile property, land and development sales. Most notably he developed the exclusive Ryder Cup Village and Ladycastle Developments within the grounds of the K Club in Straffan Co. Kildare venue of the Ryder Cup 2006. He was recently named one of Ireland’s Most Influential People. Arthur is a well-respected businessman and member of the community. He is active in a number of charitable organisations and continues to develop both charitable and business related endeavours.

Lisa McAllister

Ms. Lisa McAllister from Sligo is currently on sabbatical from her position as Chief Executive of the Western Development Commission (WDC). Lisa was appointed in 2002 to the WDC - a State body which aims to foster and promote economic and social development in the seven counties of the West of Ireland from Donegal to Clare. Ms. McAllister has been involved in regional development since 1992 and was appointed as a member of the first board of the WDC at its establishment in 1997. Ms McAllister formerly worked in the private sector where she was previously General Manager of the Sligo-based hardware wholesale company Herron and Son Ltd. Lisa has also worked in the voluntary and community sector having headed up the Council for the West and the Euro Info Centre (DGXXIII) based at Sligo Chamber of Commence and Industry.

Ulick McEvaddy, a former Irish army officer and native of County Mayo, is a leading figure in the aviation industry. In 1984, along with his brother Desmond, he established Omega Air Inc; a Washington-based US Corporation that specialises in the sale and lease of aircraft. From its inception, Omega Air put particular emphasis on the Boeing 707 aircraft having identified a market that had both military and commercial applications. Omega Air has grown to become the largest trader in the Boeing 707 in the World and the largest supplier of this aircraft in the US and other Military bodies. Today Omega Air has developed into a group of six aviation companies whose services include spare part sales and leasing, engine overhaul and repair, aircraft sales and leasing, air to air re-fuelling and re-engineering of Boeing 707 series aircraft.

John Travers

John Travers, who hails from Cork and is resident in Dublin, has a wealth of experience working with Government in the tourism and economic sectors. Mr. Travers currently operates his own business and economic consultancy firm specialising in economic and regional development issues, organisational restructuring, analysis of the economics of R&D, industrial and tourism development and public sector organisation.

Currently, Mr Travers is Chairman of the Government Tourism Policy Review Group as well as Chairman of the Government Tourism Policy Implementation Group.

Previously John was founding CEO of the Science Foundation of Ireland (SCI) and of Forfás, the Government Board for Industrial and Science Policy which encompassed IDA (Ireland), Enterprise Ireland and numerous State agencies. He also held the title of Chief Economic Adviser, Department of Industry and Commerce as well as acting as Chairman of the Steering Group for the Foresight Report on a development strategy for the BMW Region (2004-2005).

Right Reverend Monsignor Joseph Quinn officially took up duties as the new Parish Priest of Knock and Administrator of the Shrine in 2002.Monsignor Quinn joined the Board following the death of Monsignor Dominick Grealy. Monsignor Quinn will work with the Airport staff to foster new initiatives in the development of pilgrimage-based tourism to the region.

Monsignor Quinn was born in Castlebar to a family steeped in the traditions of the GAA. His father Paddy was fullback on the Mayo team that won the first All-Ireland senior title for the county in 1936. Monsignor Quinn was ordained in 1970 and served in a number of parishes including Turlough and Crimlin until he was appointed to Tuam in 1985. He had spent 17 years in the North Galway capital where he became a very well known and highly respected figure among people from all walks of life and many tributes were paid to him on the occasion of his transfer from Tuam to Knock.


Board Members, Ireland West Airport Knock

  • Patrick Joseph Kennedy, Chairman
  • Liam Scollan, Managing Director
  • Des Mahon, County Manager, Mayo County Council
  • John Dillon, Managing Director, Dillon’s Travel
  • Sean Noone, Managing Director & Company Founder, Selc Ireland Limited
  • Martin Gillen, Vice President Human Resources Europe, Allergan
  • Brian McEniff, Managing Director, Brian McEniff Hotel Group
  • Most Reverend Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam
  • Reverend Monsignor Joseph Quinn, Parish Priest of Knock
  • John Travers, Business and Economic Consultant
  • Arthur French, C.E.O., French Estates
  • Lisa McAllister, Nominee of the Western Development Commission
  • Ulick McEvaddy, Managing Director, Omega Air
  • Company Secretary, Ireland West Airport Knock
  • Martina Burns

Summary Biographies of Board Member:

Patrick Joseph Kennedy, Chairman

Patrick Joseph Kennedy is the Chairman of Ireland West Airport Knock and when he joined the Board more than four years ago he brought with him a strong business acumen and high level business and investment contacts.

Mr Kennedy, who is a native of Mayo, is one of the most successful Irish business people in the UK. After moving to the UK he worked for a period in the construction industry before establishing his own business in construction and cable laying which he grew to become a multi-million enterprise.

Mr. Kennedy had the honour of being bequeathed as a Knight of St. Gregory, K.S.G. by His Holiness the Late Pope John Paul II in 1992. Mr Kennedy established the Kennedy Charitable Foundation through which he has supported hundreds of causes with generous donations both in Ireland and the UK. His many sponsorships include education, particularly religious education, emigrant causes and peacemaking in Northern Ireland as well as numerous Irish and community initiatives on both sides of the Irish Sea.

Liam Scollan, Managing Director, Ireland West Airport Knock

Since he joined Ireland West Airport Knock in 2002, the Airport has experienced record-breaking passenger numbers and business growth.

Mr Scollan has worked extensively in regional development in Ireland and the UK. He was previously Chief Executive of the Western Development Commission where he built the organisation from scratch and championed a wide range of regional development policies many of which have since been adopted by Government.

In the 1980s Mr. Scollan played a leading role in urban and regional development in both County and Regional Authorities in the UK where his work led to significant job creation and regeneration in towns. In 1996 one of his initiatives won an award from the Secretary of the State for the Environment as one of the best examples of regeneration through partnership in the UK. Liam is a native of Leitrim.

Des Mahon, County Manger, Mayo County Council

Des Mahon, from Roscommon, is one of the longest serving board members of Ireland West Airport Knock. Mr Mahon first joined the board in September 1990 before going on to become Vice Chairman of the Airport.

Today, Mr Mahon is Chairman of the Trust. As a Trust, Ireland West Airport Knock re-invests its available resources into the continued development of the airport for the benefit of the region and customers, overseen by Mr Mahon.

He is also County Manager for Mayo County Council and responsible for the promotion of the region which he believes offers something for everyone. He cites the scenery and friendliness of the people, the number and quality of attractions as well as opportunities for walking, swimming, fishing, and golf as playing a role in the county’s and region’s attractiveness to tourists.

John Dillon, Managing Director, Dillon’s Travel

John Dillon is a native of Mayo and runs a family travel business from Ballyhaunis which was established by his grandfather more than 100 years ago. It was then run by his father before he took up the helm.

The company John Dillon & Sons was originally established to accommodate the Irish who were emigrating and seeking tickets for the transatlantic boat which came into port in Galway.

Mr. Dillon has the distinction of being the longest-serving board member having joined in 1986 – the same year that the airport was officially opened. He has served on the board with a number of Chairmen including Monsignor James Horan, Mr. Seamus Monaghan, Monsignor Grealy, Mr. Cathal Duffy and Mr. Joseph Kennedy. He also was a passenger on the very first scheduled flight into the airport when Ryanair touched down in 1986. John Dillon is a key asset to the Airport given his experience and expertise in the travel industry particularly in developing the airport’s charter business which has been grown to serve almost 70,000 passengers flying to over a dozen European holiday destinations in 2006.

Sean Noone, Managing Director & Company Founder, Selc Ireland Limited

Sean Noone is Managing Director of his own company, Selc Ireland Ltd, the number one supplier to Aer Rianta, and a major supplier to British airports, for high-tech lighting. Mr Noone is also a member of the Government’s Energy Task Force.

An aviation enthusiast, Mr Noone is a qualified helicopter pilot and member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots’ Association. He is involved at a national level with the Helicopter Emergency Medical Emergency Committee. Sean Noone has been the Western People’s Mayo Man of the Year, National Innovator of the Year and Erris Man of the Year.

Martin Gillen, Vice President Human Resources Europe, Africa & the Middle East, Allergan

Martin Gillen is Vice President of Human Resources for Allergan Pharmaceuticals which employs more than 1,000 people in Westport. Allergan Pharmaceuticals is a world renowned manufacturer of specialty pharmaceuticals such as skin care and optical medical devices such as contact lenses.

Before joining Allergan, Mr. Gillen worked for fifteen years with the McGee Group in Donegal and prior to that as an industrial engineer for WP McCarter in Buncrana.

He is also a member of the Mayo Industrial Group and has campaigned for the development of Ireland West Airport Knock and the N5 Westport to Dublin road.

Mr. Gillen is a UCD graduate in Operations and Production Management and has an Open University Degree in General Management and is a Member of the Institute of Personnel Directors.

Brian McEniff, Managing Director, Brian McEniff Hotel Group

Brian McEniff was appointed to the Board in 2002 and brings with him a wealth of business and tourism experience. Mr McEniff comes from Donegal and heads the McEniff Hotel Group which is a family run group of hotels in Bundoran, Sligo, Rosses Point, Westport and Drumcondra in Dublin.

Mr McEniff is well known as one of the most successful football managers in Ulster.

His success culminated in 1992 when he led his native county Donegal to glory at Croke Park in the All-Ireland senior football final against Dublin.

Mr. McEniff has also managed the international GAA Rules team and has been the Ulster manager for over two decades and was the recipient of an All-Star award in 1972.

Most Reverend Archbishop Michael Neary

Archbishop Michael Neary was born in 1946 in Castlebar. He was ordained a priest in 1971 when he became a priest in Tuam and just over 20 years later in 1992 he then became Auxiliary Bishop. In January 1995 he was appointed Archbishop of Tuam.

Archbishop Neary has been in the priesthood for a total of 35 years and has a wealth of experience managing both parishes and the diocese of Tuam dealing with people in difficulty on an almost daily basis.

Family Life Services based at the Family Centre, Chapel Street, Castlebar, was established in 1994 by the Catholic Archdiocese of Tuam in association with the Western Health Board. Archbishop Neary is, perhaps, best known for his annual homily at Croagh Patrick on Reek Sunday.

Right Reverend Monsignor Joseph Quinn

See profile in main body of news release.

John Travers, Business and Economic Consultant

See profile in main body of news release.

John currently holds a variety of positions and accreditations including:-.

· Chairman of the Tourism Policy Review Group

· Chairman of the Government Tourism Policy Implementation Group.

· Founding CEO and member of the Science Foundation of Ireland (SFI)

· Former Chief Economic Advisor at the Dept. of Industry & Commerce

· Member of the Tourism Product Management Boards for the BMW and South-East Regions.

· Member of the Advisory Board to the Competition Authority.

· Member of the Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ireland (ICAI).

· Member of the Board of the Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business at University College Dublin.

· Member of the National Competitiveness Council.

· Member of the North-South Business Group promoting North–South business co-operation in Ireland arising from the Good Friday agreement.

· Founding CEO of Forfás

Arthur French, C.E.O. French Estates

See profile in main body of news release.

Lisa McAllister, Nominee of the Western Development Commission

See profile in main body of news release.

Ulick McEvaddy, Managing Director, Omega Air

See profile in main body of news release.

Company Secretary, Ireland West Airport Knock

Martina Burns

Martina Burns is a native Roscommon is Company Secretary of Connaught Airport Development Company Ltd. having joined in 2003.

She has a strong financial background having worked for Lloyd’s Bank in the city of London as well as Coutts & Company where she was Head of Customer Services.

Martina also held the position of Box Office and Finance Manager for the then newly opened council-owned Hexagon Theatre and was asked to join the management team at The Royal Festival Hall, London, working for the Arts Council of Great Britain and Sales Manager of the South Bank Centre.

She returned to her native Roscommon in 2001 taking up a temporary contract as Head of Administration at the Western Development Commission. Her passion for the Airport stems from her time living in the UK when she regularly used the airport to come home and visit friends and family.

© Copyright 2007 by © Contributor(s) and Castlebar Web Pages 1997 - 2018

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