Apple wins Irish court backing for €850m datacentre in Athenry

12 October, 2017, 18:39 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Mollie Spellman from Athenry during the rally in support of Apple’s Athenry data centre plans in the town on Sunday

On Thursday, Apple received permission to build a $1 billion data center in Ireland, after a two year planning delay, Reuters reported.

High Court judge Paul McDermott dismissed the appeals brought by three campaigners, who were concerned about the environmental impact of the project, which is to occupy almost 166,000 square meters in County Galway, west Ireland. The three objectors are, however, expected to appeal.

Among their arguments was that the planning permission was invalid because the board failed to carry out a proper environmental impact assessment of the proposed development. The three objectors are, however, expected to appeal.

At its peak, the investment in Galway is estimated to be worth more than €1bn and would put Ireland on the global digital map as well as encouraging more digital investments and data centres to go west.

Apple first announced the data centre in February 2015.

Apple did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

Justice Paul McDermott ruled that Apple should be granted permission to build the data centre on Ireland's west coast.

"This had been a long-drawn out process, yet the local community and Apple have continuously demonstrated their commitment to the project and to investing in Ireland".

The government has said it is considering amending its planning laws to include data centers as strategic infrastructure, thus allowing them to get through the planning process much more quickly.

In addition to the government's regulatory changes, people in Athenry have also become proactively vocal on the issue both through social media channels and on the streets.

Earlier this year, Apple announced that it is planning to build another data centre in Denmark as it struggled to get the Irish data centre off the ground. Apple made its frustrations clear to Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar during a visit last month and warned the judicial delays and process could affect decisions about future investments in the country. The Apple Athenry case is a very good example of a planning system that in its current form is dysfunctional and can too easily be exploited.



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