Applegreen: NI service stations will create 200 jobs

At least two motorway service stations have been given the go-ahead Each service station will require 50 to 60 staff

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Northern Ireland's first motorway service stations are to open in the next two years creating more than 200 jobs, it has been announced.

Irish company Petrogas Global said it is investing £25m in the four service stations.

They will each require 50 to 60 staff, managers and sales assistants.

The first service areas will open between junctions 4 and 5 on the M2 near Templepatrick, with two more planned for the M1 in 2015.

Work has already started on the M2 project, which is expected to be completed in March 2015.

The service areas will trade under Petrogas' Applegreen brand.

Applegreen has 12 motorway service areas on the island of Ireland - two based on the Belfast to Dublin route.

The company said its Northern Ireland sites will not be as big as those in the Republic of Ireland, but will include shops, cafes and restaurants.

Robert Etchingham, chief executive of Applegreen, said: "We are constantly looking for new sites to build and acquire, and, although the motorway network in the north has significantly improved in recent years, there is still a shortage of service areas on these major routes."

Environment Minister, Mark H Durkan added: "The development of these new motorway service stations, a first for Northern Ireland, will provide a significant boost to the local economy."

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