Facebook plans more giant data centres for Ireland

25 Jun 2018

Facebook Dublin offices on Grand Canal Square, Dublin. Image: Noel Bennett/Shutterstock

Social network Facebook continues to grow its footprint in Meath and Dublin.

Facebook is understood to be planning to expand its data centre offering in Clonee, Co Meath.

The social media giant broke ground on its original €200m data centre in Clonee two years ago on a 220-acre campus that left room for further expansion. The project generated around 600 construction jobs as well as 100 full-time staff to operate the facility.

According to a report in The Sunday Times at the weekend, Facebook is planning to invest €300m to build two new data centre buildings adjacent to the existing data centre.

The buildings will span more than 57,000 sq m and their construction could pave the way for 1,400 construction jobs.

The site would be the equivalent of eight times the size of the pitch at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. The expansion is planned for 200 acres of agricultural land near the Dublin-Meath border.

Facebook’s workforce in Ireland has grown from an initial 80 jobs announced in 2009 to about 2,500 people at its Silicon Docks international headquarters in Dublin today.

The company is also rumoured to be expanding in Dublin with the potential to generate up to 1,000 jobs both on Dublin’s northside as well as a new campus tipped for Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.

€1.1bn will be invested in data centre construction in Ireland in 2018

Ireland is still a haven for data centre projects despite the massive setback in Apple’s decision not to go ahead with a data centre project in Athenry, Co Galway, due to extended planning and legal delays.

In the aftermath of the loss of the Apple data centre in Athenry, the Government published a new policy statement outlining Ireland’s construction approach to securing future data centres, ensuring no such delays will occur again and that future projects will be bolstered by joined-up thinking on planning and energy policy.

A report published by Host In Ireland in association with Bitpower, The Data Centre: Q1 2018, found that more than €1.1bn will be invested in data centre construction on Irish shores this year, bringing the cumulative investment for data centres in the country to €5.7bn, with the potential to reach €9bn by 2021.

A large cluster of the 46 data centres currently operating in Ireland are based in south-west Dublin and, with a number of others around the country still being built, this will rise significantly in the very near future.

Facebook Dublin offices on Grand Canal Square, Dublin. Image: Noel Bennett/Shutterstock

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