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JD Wetherspoon sells off Northern Ireland pubs in £3m deal to McLaughlin brothers

JD Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin

UK pub chain JD Wetherspoon has sold five of its nine pubs in Northern Ireland to homegrown business The Granny Annie’s group, it has announced.

The Old Courthouse in Coleraine, The Spinning Mill in Ballymena, The Linen Hall in Enniskillen and two Londonderry pubs have all been sold by Wetherspoon’s.

The amount paid by Granny Annie’s has not been disclosed — but it’s thought to be over £3m.

Granny Annie’s Group operates three pubs — in Londonderry, Limavady and at the former Victoria’s in Chichester Street, Belfast, close to the law courts.

It’s run by Limavady brothers Willis and Ryan McLaughlin.

Wetherspoon’s is led by Tim Martin, who went to school in Northern Ireland. He said staff at the pubs would be transferred to the new owner and that there would be no job losses.

Mr Martin, chairman of the company, said: “We understand that our loyal customers will be disappointed with the decision to sell five of our pubs in Northern Ireland.

“However, as a company we have to make commercial decisions and it was decided to sell the pubs.

“At the same time we are looking to open two new pubs in Belfast in the near future.”

Wetherspoon will continue to run its pubs in Belfast, Newtownards, Carrickfergus and Lisburn.

The company aims to open two new pubs in Belfast at a former JJB Sports in Royal Avenue, Belfast, and a former Methodist Church in University Road.

Wetherspoon’s said it intends to spend more than £4.5m and create 100 new jobs across the two developments.

In addition it has submitted planning permission to develop a new beer garden at The Bridge House in Belfast.

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