Supermac's chief hits road with €7m Obama Plaza

Pat and Una McDonagh, who have developed the Barack Obama Plaza in Moneygall, Co Offaly, with the US president’s nearest Irish relative Henry Healy (centre). Inset: Mr Obama

Brian McDonald

THE final lick of paint was being applied and the bunting erected for today's grand opening of the Barack Obama Plaza, the only services outlet on the motorway linking Dublin with Limerick.

The €7m development by Pat and Una McDonagh, owners of the Supermac's chain of restaurants, will now become the largest employer in the ancestral home of the US President, Moneygall, which has a population of 300.

More than 70 people will work at the plaza, which will have a variety of food outlets, a motor accessory shop, fuel station and convenience shop and state-of-the-art meeting rooms.

A visitor centre will open shortly, providing an educational experience focused on Irish-American history and culture while also celebrating President Obama's visit to Moneygall in 2011.

The development is the latest in the growing chain of properties being developed by the former schoolteacher who controls the Supermac's chain – the country's largest indigenous group of fast food restaurants.

Mr McDonagh said yesterday that it had been "a privilege" to work with the people of Moneygall to mark the visit of the areas "most famous son" to the village of his forefathers.

"We are thrilled with how the Barack Obama Plaza has turned out. We have had excellent local construction workers and suppliers helping to get the development prepared for business and now, as the doors open on Friday, we have a dedicated team in place ready to greet and look after each customer as they arrive", he said.

President Obama's relative, Henry Healy has come on board as a manager at the plaza.

He said: "This is another milestone for Moneygall. We have a facility which will enhance the community and become one of the largest employers in the area."