From Obama to Brian Boru - Supermacs boss plans to open more motorway plazas
Supermacs boss Pat McDonagh has announced plans for three more motorway plazas - and is planning a trawl through history to find the perfect names.
Given the interest in the name of the Barack Obama plaza in Moneygall he is now considering names of note for all upcoming plazas.
"The name does have an impact with the Barack Obama plaza," he said. "We're certainly attracting a lot of American interest, that's for sure.
"For future names it will depend on the area and who was significant for that area. We'd be happy to mark people of great note, we'll go all the way back to Brian Boru if we have to."
Mr McDonagh this week turned the sod on his second plaza in Kiltullagh, Co Galway, which will open in the spring. He said the €8m plaza will be the country's largest motorway service station.
He is also planning similar ventures in Ennis, Co Clare, and also in Limerick. He said the expansion was all down to the success of his first motorway plaza in Moneygall. The new ventures will result in a further 300 jobs.
"The Barack Obama Plaza is going very well, it's exceeding our expectations so we're very happy. The business centre is growing every month - it started off slow but it's growing - but the biggest part of the business is the food and fuel side," he said.
"We have 110 employed there and we'd expect around 100 at each of the other sites."
Mr McDonagh said the Kiltullagh plaza should open by next March. The Ennis plans are currently awaiting planning permission, but Mr McDonagh said he was hopeful of a positive result by November. The businessman also has existing motorway stations at Tipperary Town Plaza and Mallow N20 Plaza.
The Supermacs boss said he planned to expand further depending on demand.
"If we get the right locations we'd certainly consider expanding. It depends on how the roadways develop as there's no point having an over-abundance of them. It will all depend on the opportunities," he added.
The businessman said all overseas expansion was on hold until the outcome of a decision from the Competition Authority in November in relation to his ongoing battle with McDonald's.
"As soon as we get the decision we will move ahead with that. We're optimistic we should get a positive result, there's no reason why not," he said.