Sunday 22 September 2019

Apple data centre given the green light - even though it's already been shelved

Vision: An artist’s impression of the proposed Apple data centre planned for Athenry, Co Galway
Vision: An artist’s impression of the proposed Apple data centre planned for Athenry, Co Galway
Claire Murphy

Claire Murphy

The Apple data centre in Athenry has been given the green light - even though the tech giant has already decided not to proceed with the development.

The Supreme Court sided with An Bord Pleanála, which originally approved the decision in August 2016, despite objections from locals.

The court's decision yesterday is the conclusion of a long-running battle for the infrastructure project.

The judgment is being seen as an important determination that could affect future projects.

The €850m development in Athenry was planned by Apple as part of its first phase of the data centre.

But the technology group ultimately abandoned plans for the facility - mainly due to the long delays in the planning process. It opted to construct a second data centre in Denmark.

Yesterday's decision has been welcomed by the Industrial Development Authority (IDA).

CEO of the IDA Martin Shanahan said that "speed is important" when it comes to the planning process.

Apple was contacted for comment by the Irish Independent.

The group has previously stated that it remained committed to its existing operations in Ireland, where it currently employs more than 6,000 people.

The planning permission remains in situ at the site in Athenry.

The appeal was originally brought by Sinead Fitzpatrick, who lives close to the planned development, and Allan Daly, of Athenry, over the High Court's dismissal of their challenge concerning how the board dealt with the company's proposal. It was opposed by the board.

The State, which applied to be joined to the appeal as an amicus curiae, assistant to the court on legal issues, supported the board's position.

Apple is no longer involved in the case, initiated by the residents after the company got planning permission from the board on August 11, 2016.

Irish Independent

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