Supermac’s boss faces new challenge to Ennis motorway plaza plan

Objector claims there is an ‘environmental issue’ in how the Pat McDonagh application plans to deal with waste water at plaza site

Pat McDonagh’s plans for a €10 million Barack Obama Plaza-style Supermac’s motorway plaza outside Ennis off the M18 motorway linking Galway to Limerick are being stalled by a High Court challenge.

Mr McDonagh secured planning permission for the development at Kilbreckan, Doora, outside Ennis, last October, bringing to an end an almost eight-year-long planning saga. However, a chartered civil engineer from the Burren village of Kilfenora is seeking to challenge the An Bord Pleanála permission in the High Court by way of judicial review.

Michael Duffy claims the “appropriate assessment”, which assesses potential adverse effects of projects on special areas of conservation, lodged with the planning application, is flawed and therefore planning permission should not have been granted.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled next week to determine if Mr Duffy has an arguable case against the grant of permission.


Speaking on Wednesday, Mr Duffy said his expertise was the treatment of waste water connected to new schemes. He contends there is an “environmental issue” in how the Pat McDonagh application plans to deal with waste water.

Mr Duffy said what is planned “is bad for the town of Ennis and I think it will become a destination like the Obama plaza has. I think it is a bad planning decision, but that is just my opinion and has nothing to do with the grounds in the High Court case”.

Mr Duffy said his bottom line is to ensure better water quality and that new developments are built property and treat waste water in the correct way.

Mr McDonagh declined to comment in advance of the case coming before the court next week.

When planning was granted last October, Mr McDonagh said the plaza would lead to the same level of job creation as the Barack Obama Plaza at Moneygall at about 130 jobs as well as 100 construction jobs for a nine-month construction period.

An Bord Pleanála granted permission for the scheme after concluding it would not result in the creation of a retail destination that would negatively impact upon the existing settlement.

Separately, Mr Duffy is also challenging in the High Court a recent An Bord Pleanála permission granted to Glenveagh Homes for a €65 million 289-unit residential scheme on the outskirts of Ennis.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times