HomeBussinessSupermac’s boss Pat McDonagh says €1.5m has been spent on stalled scheme...

Supermac’s boss Pat McDonagh says €1.5m has been spent on stalled scheme for new plaza in Clare


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‘There seems to be an attitude that it is a free for all to object to anything that is happening,’ said Pat McDonagh. Photo: Frank McGrath

Supermac’s founder and MD Pat McDonagh has hit out at ‘red-tape’ after revealing he has spent “well in excess of €1.5m” on professional and legal fees to date on his stalled €10m Barack Obama-style Supermac’s motorway plaza for Co Clare.

Mr McDonagh said he has been waiting nine-and-a-half years to get the go-ahead for the project close to Ennis serving the M18 Limerick to Galway motorway and “no ground broken yet”.

Mr McDonagh first lodged plans for the motorway plaza on a site in December 2014 and finally secured planning permission at his third attempt from An Bord Pleanála in October 2022.

However, the project has since stalled after Co Clare-based chartered civil engineer Michael Duffy took a High Court judicial review challenge to the An Bord Pleanála permission.

Mr McDonagh said the planned Ennis project “is a prime example” of red tape in Ireland stagnating projects.

“For any future projects, I wouldn’t like to be caught up nine years and spent well in excess of €1.5m in costs on it to get what should be a fairly straight-forward grant of permission,” he said.

Mr McDonagh said the €1.5m plus has been spent on fees for architects, engineers, surveys and legal costs.

“Our feeling is that we will keep fighting until we get there,” he said.

The plaza will be in place in 2025 “if we are lucky enough to be successful”, he said.

“There is so much red tape attached to things today that it slows down the whole process and unless there is leadership and guidance put into it, it will stagnate the country before very long.

“There seems to be an attitude that it is a free for all to object to anything that is happening.”

Asked if he wished to comment on Mr McDonagh’s remarks, Mr Duffy declined to comment.

Michael Duffy has claimed that the Appropriate Assessment, which assesses potential adverse effects of projects on Special Areas of Conservation (SCA), lodged with the Supermac’s planning application is flawed and therefore planning permission should not have been granted.

The 2014 application was turned down by An Bord Pleanála in 2016 and the Council granted planning permission for the current scheme in December 2020.

This permission was upheld by An Bord Pleanála in October, 2022.

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