Galway a 'laughing stock' if Apple turned away
A government junior minister said that Ireland would be "a laughing stock" if the green light was not given to develop an €850m Apple data centre in Co Galway.
More than 2,000 people staged a march in Athenry yesterday to support the development.
Sean Kyne, Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs, said there was cross-party support and the majority of local people were also behind it.
"We would be a laughing stock if this was lost at this stage - Galway would be and Ireland would be nationally and internationally," he said.
Local residents were joined by people from Galway city and surrounding towns in a show of support for the development on lands owned by Coillte at Derrydonnell.
An Bord Pleanála turned down an appeal against the plan to build eight data centres on the 500-acre site, giving the green light to the scheme. However, two locals along with a Wicklow landowner have since applied to the High Court for a judicial review on environmental grounds.
Fine Gael Councillor Peter Feeney said there was a danger an impression would form that there was widespread objection to the building of the facility.
"That is not the case and the vast majority of people in the area are whole-heartedly behind this," he said.
"For the last year I have been working in Dublin, travelling up Monday and coming down on Friday because there is no high-end IT work in Galway," said David Johnston, an IT worker and father-of-four who lives in nearby Craughwell.
Supermarket owner Pat Joyce said: "It's very important for Athenry and the greater community that Apple get the go-ahead."