The west awaits: Verdict on Apple’s Athenry data centre postponed

23 Jun 2017

An Apple Store. Image: Plavevski/Shutterstock

The future of the Apple data centre project in Athenry is still unclear.

A pivotal decision on the €850m Apple data centre in Athenry has been postponed for a week due to a shortage of judges.

All eyes were on the Commercial Court in Dublin today (23 June) where Mr Justice Paul McDermott was due to give his verdict on whether the Apple data centre project would go ahead or not.

According to Galway Bay FM, a six-member delegation from the Apple for Athenry group arrived at the court this morning only to find it closed.

The Courts Service said that due to a shortage of judges, some hearings have had to be rescheduled. It is understood that the Apple Athenry hearing will instead take place this day week (30 June).

Starts and stops

Two years ago, Apple announced its plans to build an €850m data centre in Athenry. A sister data centre was also announced for Denmark.

Two years on, the Danish data centre is almost complete, while not one sod has been turned on the Athenry project.

The data centres are to be host to popular Apple services such as iCloud, Apple Music, Siri and various e-commerce activities. The Athenry base is proposed to be powered by 100pc renewable energy and would be a flagship investment for the west of Ireland.

An Bord Pleanála gave the project the go-ahead in August 2016.

However, by November, three objectors – local residents Sinéad Fitzpatrick and Allan Daly, and Wicklow landowner Brian McDonagh – received permission to seek a full judicial review of the Apple decision by An Bord Pleanála. This prompted 2,000 local people from Athenry to march in support of the data centre.

For its part, Apple has urged the process be fast-tracked. There are concerns that the company may potentially walk away from the project if delays continue.

That decision was due today. But now, Apple and the local community, including those for and against the project, will have to wait another week.

An Apple Store. Image: Plavevski/Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years