Apple’s Athenry data centre can march forward as judge rejects appeal

1 Nov 2017

A marching band in Athenry on St Patrick’s Day in 2016. Image: Rihardzz/Shutterstock

Locals’ delight as proposed €850m data centre gets final green light.

The High Court has rejected an appeal from two objectors to the proposed Apple data centre in Athenry, Galway.

Not satisfied that there was any appropriate point of law for the objectors to continue blocking the project, Justice Paul McDermott rejected an appeal by Allan Daly and Sinéad Fitzpatrick.

The local residents had objected to the data centre on environmental grounds. However, they were lone voices in a sea of approval among local residents keen to see what would be the largest capital project west of the Shannon.

Lawyers acting on behalf of Apple and An Bord Pleanála said they were making no application for costs against the objectors.

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

How the Athenry data centre will look once construction is complete. 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.

An Bord Pleanála granted approval for the project in 2016. However, objections by Daly, Fitzpatrick and Wicklow landowner Brian McDonagh as well as constant rescheduling of the court hearings only served to frustrate Apple’s plans.

But now, following the dismissal of the appeal, it appears that the data centre campus can finally be built.

The data centre is to be host to popular Apple services such as iCloud, Apple Music, Siri and various e-commerce activities. The Athenry base 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 in Athenry and, when it is operational, it will employ 100 people full-time.

According to reports, the news that the last hurdle to the project has been removed has been met with jubilation by local residents.

A marching band in Athenry on St Patrick’s Day in 2016. Image: Rihardzz/Shutterstock

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