A LOCAL authority is seeking a new operator to manage key visitor and tourist attractions in north Dublin after the previous operator withdrew.
ingal County Council described as “disappointing” a decision by Shannon Heritage to withdraw from its contract to operate several high-profile attractions, including Malahide Castle, Butterfly House, the Casino Model Railway Museum and Newbridge House and Farm in Donabate.
The council confirmed it would begin the process of procuring a new operator for the popular tourist destinations.
It added it would work with Shannon Heritage as it moved into a six-month transitionary period and stressed that all attractions would remain open.
When contacted by Independent.ie, a council spokesperson said they had nothing further to add to their statement.
Shannon Heritage, which is part of Shannon Group, has managed Malahide Castle since 2012.
In 2018, it entered into a new agreement with Fingal County Council to take over the running of Newbridge House and Farm.
The following year, it won the contract to operate the newly refurbished Casino Model Railway Museum in Malahide.
Fingal County Council is expected to be asked by local representatives for further information on the Shannon Heritage decision to withdraw from its contract at next week’s council meeting.
Cllr Ann Graves (SF) said she hoped councillors would be fully briefed on the matter and said the priority must be the protection of existing jobs at the attractions in the event of a new operator being appointed.
“Hopefully we will learn more about the circumstances that led to Shannon Heritage’s decision and things will become clearer,” she added.
Cllr Eoghan O’Brien (FF), who is a board member of Malahide Castle and Newbridge House Ltd, said Shannon Heritage had performed well over the years and he hoped there would be a “seamless transition” of staff to new operators.
He expected the issue to be addressed at next week’s Fingal County Council meeting in the chief executive’s report.
Shannon Heritage has been contacted for comment.