Portlaoise (Port Laoise):
As part of Ireland's economic growth, land alongside the M7 had become prime for development. At Portlaoise, a new hotel has been built, and in 2009 a landowner was trying to gather interest from a developer wishing to build a motorway service area.
That interest never materialised, but in 2017 Supermac's revealed they were in talks to build a Portlaoise Plaza here, similar to the popular one down the road. They purchased a 109-acre plot of land for €3.25 million, but later sold 76 acres to the council.
A planning application was formally lodged in March 2018 for a two-storey building with a food court, a drive thru and a forecourt. Several objections have been raised by local businesses, arguing that the roundabout can't handle it, that the building design is poor and that it merely replicates Applegreen's food court.
Midway Food Court
Applegreen built a large food court at this junction, called Midway Food Court. It has a lot in common with a British service station building with its food court, free toilets, coach parking and on-site hotel, in addition to being managed by an established Irish service station operator. However, despite well-known by regular motorway users, it is not signed from the motorway at all.
In October 2018 Applegreen received planning permission to build a petrol station at the side of the amenity building. This could quash Supermac's proposals, and lead to it being declared an official offline service area.