NO sooner than Moneygall was celebrating the news that President Barack Obama is coming to town, than villagers have another reason to cheer.
On Monday in Ollie Hayes’ Bar, Managing Director of Supermac’s, Pat McDonagh, announced the development of a new €7m ‘travel plaza’ in Moneygall which will create more than 50 full-time and 20 part-time jobs, together with a further 70-80 jobs during the building stages of the project.
The 12 acre site just down the road from the motorway, will be a major purpose built motorway services facility along the M7 route between Dublin and Limerick. Most of the jobs are expected to go to local people, including local building firm O’Meara Construction Ltd.
The plans are to open a Supermac’s, Papa John’s Pizza and other food outlets in a food court, along with a convenience shop, fuel pumps, and other facilities. Scheduled to open for business early next year, Mr McDonagh said it’s hoped that the plaza will become a key stop-over point for motorists travelling through the midlands and will contribute to the local economy. The plans are the biggest yet unveiled by the fastfood chain in Ireland.
Fittingly, Mr McDonagh said they were hoping to call it the ‘Barack Obama’ plaza, though this will have to be cleared with the US Embassy beforehand.
“We’ve mentioned it to the Embassy, and they’re quite delighted about that. It would honour the President, and it would be a lasting memory of his visit here as well,” said Mr McDonagh.
“I see Moneygall becoming one of the centres of Ireland for travel plazas, along with other businesses, because of the necessity to stop off. Of course, it has the added advantage of President Obama’s ancestors coming from here.”
A similar project had been in the pipeline for the past two years, when the site was originally bought by a local developer, Liam Carroll.
Mr Carroll had proposed to build the “Barack Obama hotel” on the site with plans for a 150-bedroom hotel forming the focal point to the President’s Moneygall roots. Supermac’s went into negotiations to buy the site when it came up for sale about 12 months ago, securing the deal about three weeks ago. Supermac’s took possession of the site about two week’s before it was officially announced that the President would definitely be coming to Moneygall.
“We’re thrilled to be creating a high employment development in the area. We hope to provide much needed employment and an economic boost by attracting visitors to Moneygall, which is already on the map as the birthplace of President Obama’s ancestors,” added Mr McDonagh.
Full story in this week’s Tipperary Star