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Wetherspoons eyes more sites for expansion here

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Pulling pints: Boris Johnson with Tim Martin, who is planning to expand his Irish operation. Photo: Henry Nicholls/PA Wire

Pulling pints: Boris Johnson with Tim Martin, who is planning to expand his Irish operation. Photo: Henry Nicholls/PA Wire

Pulling pints: Boris Johnson with Tim Martin, who is planning to expand his Irish operation. Photo: Henry Nicholls/PA Wire

The British pub chain JD Wetherspoon says it's seeking further development sites in Ireland to expand its discount business model here.

The business - which draws ire from domestic publicans for selling beer for as little as €2.45 a pint - is expected to open three more pubs and its second hotel here this summer and another pub next year in Galway.

Its Belfast-born founder and chairman, Tim Martin, says Wetherspoons is aiming to bring more competition soon to other Irish cities and towns.

"We are looking at further sites across the Republic of Ireland," Mr Martin told the Irish Independent. "Hopefully, our investment will act as a catalyst for other businesses to invest in the respective areas where we are opening."

Keavan's Port, the 89-bed hotel and pub under development on Dublin's Camden Street since 2017, is expected to open by July - a year later than originally hoped.

That €18.5m complex is incorporating a former chapel of the Little Sisters of the Assumption as well as a circular window crafted by church decorators Early & Company.

Wetherspoons also is refitting the former HQ Restaurant & Gastrobar on Hanover Quay, purchased in November after Savills Ireland listed the property in excess of €5.5m.

The new pub there is to be named the South Strand. It will offer two storeys of dining and drinking space stretching over 854 square metres indoors as well as an outdoor seating area.

The first Wetherspoons in Waterford, the Arundel Gate, is expected to open in July along Broad Street and Arundel Square on sites previously filled by derelict shops and a closed bank branch. Wetherspoons runs 11 pubs on the island of Ireland - including four north of the Border - and one Swords hotel.

Mr Martin, who founded Wetherspoons in 1979, has climbed to 26th place on the new 'Sunday Independent' Rich List detailing the 250 top individuals and families with ties to the island of Ireland.

Today he owns 31.9pc of publicly listed JD Wetherspoon, which has a market value of £1.6bn (€1.9bn). His estimated net worth has risen by two-thirds to €671m.

Irish Independent