€7m service station opens off Cork-Dublin motorway

A €7 MILLION service station has opened near Monasterevin, Co Kildare, which will provide services for motorists on the motorway linking Dublin with Limerick, Cork, Clare, Tipperary and Kerry.

However, motorists will have to leave the M7 at junction 14 (Monasterevin) to access the 24/7 facility on the Cork-Dublin road.

The National Roads Authority (NRA) has admitted that plans for a motorway service station directly off the M7 near Mountrath, Co Laois may not go ahead following the opening of this privately run facility just over 30km away.

Under NRA proposals, a similar service station is earmarked for a site adjacent to the M7 between junctions 18 and 19, which would not require motorists to leave the motorway.

However, the NRA acknowledged that the opening of the service station could undermine the financial viability of another large-scale facility within the same catchment area.

“Considering the lack of funding for additional service stations, the new private operation will satisfy a need that the NRA agrees is there,” said a NRA spokesperson.

The NRA spent €200,000 on erecting road signs on all major inter-urban routes last year to direct motorists to services in towns and cities in response to criticism over the lack of service stations and lay-bys.

Only three of 12 planned motorway services stations have opened — at Castlebellingham and Lusk on the M1 and near Enfield on the M4.

Plans to open the remaining nine facilities, including one at Mountrath, were postponed indefinitely by the NRA due to a lack of Government funding.

The Monasterevin service station, which is owned by Kildare businessmen Donal and Liam Fitzpatrick, will also include a number of outlets including Spar Express, Supermac’s and Insomnia Coffee with 170 car park spaces and 25 spaces for heavy goods vehicles.

The €7m investment will create 50 jobs.

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