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JD Wetherspoon pub chain voices interest in Armagh and Newry

The County Down man behind the JD Wetherspoon pub chain is planning further outlets in his native Province – and Armagh and Newry are both on his shopping list.

This week it was revealed that a former Methodist Church in Belfast had been snapped up for £800,000 as the latest acquisition.

The chain already has nine outlets across Northern Ireland, including Belfast, Lisburn and Coleraine.

In March the company revealed its intentions to open in its first pub in the Republic during 2014 and was hopeful of a further 50 more across the UK.

JD Wetherspoon is famed for its low-cost drinks and food, with the price of a pint of lager coming in at just over £2! The award-winning chain hails itself as offering “choice and value in both food and drink”.

Tim Martin, who is originally from Holywood, is the man behind the Wetherspoons empire, which now boasts over 900 pubs and employs 33,000 staff. It also runs successful hotels as part of its operation.

It is 14 years since the first JD’s first opened in Belfast.

But it was in 1979 that Tim Martin, a former barrister, opened his first at Muswell Hill.

Now he has revealed that he intends further openings across the Province as part of a major expansion plan here, following an upturn in trade over the past two to three years.

And he has his eyes set firmly on the larger towns and cities.

Mr Martin told the Belfast Telegraph that the company was interested in Armagh, Newry and Omagh.

“We are looking at a few locations but none has come to fruition,” he told the newspaper.

“We are hoping that a few more might develop in Belfast and elsewhere in Northern Ireland. It will be in the biggest towns – we are interested in Omagh, Armagh, Newry and towns of that ilk.”

Wetherspoons chief executive John Hutson, speaking last year when the 900th pub was opened, said the company continued to go from strength to strength and pledged then: “We will continue to open new pubs and create jobs for many more years to come.”

The actual name for many is an enigma, but the ‘JD’ is actually borrowed from JD Hogg, in the classic Dukes of Hazzard TV series, while the Wetherspoon comes from one of Mr Martin’s teachers when in New Zealand! Simples!

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