Tuesday 20 August 2019

€850m Apple deal is not dead... but we need to change the law - Taoiseach

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Frank McGrath
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Frank McGrath

Niall O'Connor

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has pledged to reform the State's planning system on the back of the controversy surrounding Apple's plans to open up an €850m site in Galway.

Mr Varadkar told his parliamentary party meeting that the current law could be changed before Christmas to ensure an a more streamlined process for proposed data centres.

He said there are data centres across the country, citing Amazon and Facebook.

But he rejected a proposal from junior minister Sean Kyne for a designated court for planning applications from major multi national firms.

Despite the Apple deal being in serious doubt, Mr Varadkar insisted the Government is not giving up on attracting the massive investment.

"Leo was clear the process needs to be simpler - but he was clear the Apple deal is still alive," said one source present.

Meanwhile, Mr Varadkar told TDs his speech at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis would focus on government achievements and plans for the future, rather than criticising the opposition.

Mr Varadkar has been criticised in recent weeks for his ferocious attacks on Sinn Féin.

A source said:

"Leo made clear that he would focus instead on what we have done and will do,  not the faults of the opposition."

Education Minister Richard Bruton also addressed the meeting, saying he is developing a document called the "Republic of Opportunity" which will map out Ireland's future until 2025.

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