Wetherspoons boss wants up to 30 pubs in Republic of Ireland
Popular British pub chain Wetherspoons is set to boost its portfolio of pubs in the Republic of Ireland to a total of up to 30, it has been revealed.
The chain - run by Northern Ireland-born Brexit-backing entrepreneur Tim Martin - operates four pubs in Northern Ireland, and already has seven outlets in the Republic, with many more in the pipeline.
The group is already planning to invest €10m in its Republic of Ireland operations.
"If things go well here, we might have 20 or 30 pubs here in 10 or 15 years," the Wetherspoons chairman told Dublin's Sunday Business Post newspaper.
New acquisitions in Dublin, Waterford and Carlow are just the start of the group's expansion plans - which include offering accommodation as well as the usual pints, shorts and cocktails.
"Both in the UK and Ireland, accommodation is very much a new thing for us," the pub chain chairman said.
"It's gone well so far, with high occupancy level, so it's a possibility to pursue in other locations," he explained.
The news comes as Wetherspoons posted a 6.8% increase in like-for-like sales in the 52 weeks to July 28.
The chain's revenue rose 7.4% to £1.8bn over the year, while pre-tax profit fell 4.5% to £102.5m.
Earlier this month Wetherspoons slashed the price of a pint by 20p at more than 600 pubs, in a Brexit-related move aimed at showing customers how leaving the EU's Customs Union could reduce costs.
The pro-Brexit pub boss hit out at "elite Remainers" for "ignoring the big picture" about Brexit, such as lower input costs and more democracy.
Mr Martin claimed that leaving the EU Customs Union on October 31 would allow the Government to end "protectionist tariffs" - something he says would decrease how much customers would have to pay for drinks in pubs and shops.