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Supermacs to serve up application for Obama-style plaza in Clare

SUPERMACS’ owner Pat McDonagh is hopeful that “perseverance pays at the end of the day” as reignited plans for a motorway service station on the outskirts of Ennis are set to be lodged for planning permission in the coming days.
This will be the fast-food chain’s fourth application for a Barack Obama Plaza style development adjacent to Junction 12 of the M18 at Kilbreckan, Doora.
Mr McDonagh confirms that that the newly proposed €10 million development will be a scaled down version of previous plans for the site as well as being “a smaller version of the Obama Plaza”.
If the plans are given the green-light the development is expected to create around 130 full and part time jobs. Asked what he feels the chances of getting planning permission this time around he says, “I’m always optimistic. There’s room for it, and I think it’s badly needed to be quite honest on that motorway.
Mr McDonagh believes there is demand for this type of development on the motorway. “Hopefully this will be a bit of good news for the area. There’s a need for a motor service between Limerick and Tuam, there is nowhere to stop. I know there are moves afoot by other parties and I would expect further applications in the next year for different sites.”
Previous applications for the site have been criticised by Ennis business people who believe this type of development would draw customers from the town. However, Mr McDonagh insists the plans present a key opportunity for Clare and the west of Ireland with more and more people wanting to travel to less populated areas as a result of Covid-19
“I don’t believe that it’s going to effect business in the town whatsoever. Some of the plazas we are in already, whether it is the Galway plaza, Portlaoise or whatever, in actual fact they are a help to the local areas rather than a hindrance. Really what these motorway services have proven is they allow people to stop and hopefully they look around and see what’s on offer in West Clare or Ennis itself and they will go in, maybe not on that day but some other time. This is an opportunity.”
He continues, “We’re going to bring something to the area that’s needed. I think that it is an addition to the area, not alone from the employment, but from the people it will help to stop en-route. Then it’s up to everyone to work together. I think unity is what it’s all about at the end of the day because going forward who knows what’s ahead of us. This Covid is going to be around for a while. I think that’s where teamwork and people working together is going to help one another as opposed to anything else.
“Tourism in West Clare and those areas have an awful lot to offer. This year, with more Irish vacations, there were a lot of people who hadn’t been before and will come back again with the help of god to the west of Ireland generally. I think this brings a unique opportunity because people are anxious to get out of the more populated areas. Whilst there are challenges out there there are also opportunities out there.”
Plans for a motorway service station on the same site were withdrawn last year following a request for further information. At the time Supermacs stated, “It was felt that the elements required under the further information request would be best dealt with as part of a new application.”
A previous application in September 2016 was withdrawn just a month before a decision was due, with Mr McDonagh saying this was to allow more time to address a further information request.
That 2016 application was made less than two months after An Bord Pleanala rejected a 2014 application by Mr McDonagh for the site, which had been granted permission by Clare County Council.

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