JD Wetherspoon, headed by Brexit-backer Tim Martin, announces £13m EU investment
JD Wetherspoon, headed by vocal Brexit-backing chairman Tim Martin, has announced its biggest ever single investment - into the European Union.
The pubs chain is ploughing 15 million euros (£13.1 million) into developing a new pub and 98-bedroom hotel in Dublin city centre, which will create 200 new jobs in the Irish Republic.
Development work at the site, currently a row of derelict properties in Camden Street, will begin in February 2018, with the pub and hotel set to open early 2019.
Since the Brexit vote, Mr Martin has accused the EU of bullying the UK and used several company updates to rip into German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former French president Francois Hollande and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.
He has also lashed out at former chancellor George Osborne, the IMF, the Bank of England, the CBI, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and PwC, who he claims were too negative about the impact of a Leave vote.
But announcing the investment on Monday, he said of the Dublin site: "We are looking forward to developing the site into a fantastic pub and hotel.
"It will be the biggest single investment undertaken by Wetherspoon and will result in our largest hotel alongside a superb pub.
"Our pubs in the Republic of Ireland are thriving and we are confident that the pub and hotel will be a great asset to Dublin and act as a catalyst for other businesses to invest in the city."
Mr Martin added: "Trade and investment will continue, inside or outside the EU, as the Brexit campaign has emphasised.
"The biggest investors in the UK in the catering industry, for example, are American - Starbucks, McDonald's and others.
"And the EU and UK have no trade deal with America.
"Wetherspoon has four pubs in the Belfast area and four in Dublin and plan to open more pubs in both cities.
"Cross-border trade and investment will continue after Brexit, as the Irish and UK governments have made clear."