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Court ruling in favour of Athenry Apple datacentre

12 October 2017

Today we learn that Apple's $1 billion data center has been given the green light, dismissing an environmental challenge made by three people. High Court Judge Paul McDermott cleared the way for the project to continue today by dismissing two separate appeals. Objectors are likely to appeal the court's decision, meaning it could end up in the Supreme Court.

Sinead Fitzpatrick and Allan Daly claim it's invalid on grounds including that the board failed to carry out a proper environmental assessment.

Ireland relies on foreign multinational companies for the creation of one in every 10 jobs across the economy and sees major investments such as data centers as a means of securing their presence in the country. 150 technical staff are to be employed once the facility is put to work.

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Apple's data centre ambitions for the west of Ireland are now set to blossom.

"The planning process itself in Ireland is transparent, open and like in any effective and functioning democracy gives citizens the right to comment and provide inputs. A streamlined and more certain planning process will unlock new investment, including speedier delivery of much needed infrastructure projects across all regions of Ireland".

The data centres in Athenry and Denmark's Jutland are to be host to popular Apple services such as iCloud, Apple Music, Siri and various e-commerce activities. That appeal was delayed not once but twice, leading some to lose hope that the project would ever proceed. Around the same time, thousands of people in Athenry marched in favour of the data centre.

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Apple executives met with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in September, and reportedly told him that the company was frustrated with the planning and judicial delays, Reuters reported.

However, the fear Apple could indeed pull the plug on the development was taken serious by local residents in favour of the data centre, with many referring to Apple's announcement in October 2016 that it would build a large $950m data centre in Denmark. The Apple Athenry case is a very good example of a planning system that in its current form is dysfunctional and can too easily be exploited.

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Court ruling in favour of Athenry Apple datacentre