Ireland’s largest convenience and fuel retailer Topaz has announced details of an €8m investment in two new motorway sites.

One of the stations will be located at junction 3 on the Dublin to Cork motorway (M8) near Ballacolla in County Laois. The other will be situated at junction 5 on the Dublin to Waterford motorway (M9).

Topaz said both sites would be among the most modern and best equipped in the country, and will provide badly needed services and facilities to motorists using the M8 and M9.

Work on the 600sq m site in County Laois will begin in January 2014 and is expected to be completed by July 2014. A planning application has been submitted for the County Carlow site and if granted permission work is expected to begin next summer. Two hundred people will be employed during the construction phase of both sites while 50 people will be employed full-time once the 24-hour stations are fully operational.

The site in County Carlow will include a quick serve restaurant and this will lead to the creation of an additional 50 jobs.

Paul Candon, marketing and corporate services director at Topaz said both sites were key parts of the company’s expansion plans.

“We have an excellent motorway network in Ireland now but there is a shortage of service areas and we want to address that. We see both these sites as being vital rest and refuelling stops for motorists travelling between Dublin and Cork and Dublin and Waterford. It’s estimated 10,000 motorists use both motorways every day and we want to provide them with the best services available.

“These sites will set the bar in terms of the services available to customers and will include wi-fi internet access, a top-quality hot food buffet and cafe, EV charger, children’s play area, toilets and showers”.

Candon said Topaz was also actively looking for new sites and locations.

He added: “We are in expansion mode and are constantly looking at sites with good potential near motorways. Our site at Cashel has been extremely successful and we expect these new sites to be likewise. In addition if any dealers would like to join Topaz or hear more about the benefits of being part of our nationwide network we would love to hear from them.”