Apple’s Athenry data centre rocked again as objectors lodge appeal

18 Oct 2017

Apple store. Image: Art Silpakorn/Shutterstock

Don’t break out the champagne just yet – an appeal could once again put the Athenry data centre project on ice.

It has been billed as the biggest capital investment west of the Shannon, and a court decision last week to give Apple’s Athenry data centre project the green light was met with jubilation by locals.

Apple, characteristically, kept quiet. And with good reason.

Last week, the Commercial Court in Dublin made the decision that Apple can proceed with its €850m data centre in Athenry, backing An Bord Pleanála’s original decision to grant planning permission.

It appeared to have brought to a close to a long-running saga that saw the project delayed.

However, an appeal has since been requested on behalf of local residents Sinéad Fitzpatrick and Allan Daly, who are concerned about the environmental impact of the development, especially in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

Only the High Court can grant the permission to appeal, and there will be a hearing on Wednesday 25 October.

If a decision is not made at the hearing, the case will be adjourned to a later date.

Athenry project still hangs in balance

West reawakens as Apple gets go-ahead to build Athenry data centre

Image: Apple

Two years ago, Apple announced its plans to build the data centre in Athenry, with a sister data centre also announced for Denmark.

The Danish site is understood to be already up and running. Meanwhile, the catalogue of delays here threaten to undermine Ireland’s position as prime European location for digital investments.

If it goes ahead, the Athenry base will play host to popular Apple services such as iCloud, Apple Music, Siri and various e-commerce activities. It is to be powered by 100pc renewable energy and will be 166,000 sq m in size, but hidden from the public eye by forest. Construction of the first phase will generate 300 temporary jobs and, when operational, it will employ 100 people full-time.

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