Apple trying to fast-track Athenry data centre legal challenge

1 Nov 2016

Apple logo. Image: 1000 Words/Shutterstock

Following the three objections to the planned Athenry Apple data centre, the tech giant is now trying to fast-track court proceedings to prevent an 18-month hold-up to the site.

It appears as if Apple has its work cut out for it in Ireland, with regard to the Athenry data centre that it announced back in February 2015 as part of a planned €1.7bn investment.

Despite plans for the 24,500 sq m facility that were put forward to An Bord Pleanála last April and approved by August, a number of challengers – largely from the affected Galway area – have objected to Apple’s plans.

Following its announcement that it was to build on the Coillte-owned lands last year, a group of 20 people originally objected to the centre fearing irreparable damage to the local wildlife and livestock, despite Apple’s assurance that the centre would be as environmentally friendly as possible.

However, according to The Irish Times, three remaining objectors have asked the country’s High Court to enact a judicial review of the centre’s environmental impact.

Anticipating a potential delay of up to 18 months in the courts, Apple has reportedly asked to have the case brought to a special division of the High Court in order to have the process sped up, resulting in a shorter six month review.

A week of waiting

It is now pencilled in for this fast-track division of the High Court to hear the case on 7 November, just one day before it is expected to enter the lengthier judicial review.

As things stand, the three objectors have not been granted the right to a full judicial review, but they have been given the right to seek one ahead of the planned review on 8 November.

If this fast-track division of the High Court does agree to take on the Apple planning case, Tim Cook and his company should expect to know whether it is going ahead or not in spring of next year.

If completed, the centre will power Apple’s online services, including the iTunes Store, the App Store, iMessage, Maps and Siri, for customers across Europe.

Apple logo. Image: 1000 Words/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic