Wetherspoon's stalls Irish expansion

The British pub chain has previously said that it will open 30 pubs in the Republic of Ireland

JD Wetherspoon’s Irish expansion has been put on hold due to rising property prices and planning permission delays.

"Since we first came to Ireland the property market has tightened up a lot and so any dream of having a dozen freehold pubs in central Dublin at a knock-down price are over," founder and chairman Tim Martin told The Irish Times.

The firm currently operates five pubs in Ireland - four in Co. Dublin and one in Cork City - it hopes to ultimately grow to 30 outlets - but it has revised its Irish plans during the past year.

"We have two sites in central Dublin and bid for a third one this week but got knocked back on that and there’s a few others that we have lost out on so things are slow in terms of acquiring property and I think it is going to be a while before we have any new bars opening in Ireland," Mr Martin continued.

The group, which operates 900 pubs, announced a 5.5% rise in total sales in the 50 weeks to July 10th - with like for like sales up by 3.4.

Mr Martin said that the performance of the Irish pubs has been strong and that it is selling more food with its drinks across the 26 counties than it is in the UK.

The group was a prominent supported of the campaign for the UK to leave the EU - however Mr Martin is now warning that negativity from politicians, the Bank of England, and international financial institutions could be talking the UK into a post-Brexit recession.