Apple gets green-light to build major data centre in Ireland

Artists impression of proposed data centre

Artists impression of proposed data centre

The Irish High Court has finally approved Apple's Athenry data centre, after years of delays.

High Court judge Paul McDermott dismissed the appeals brought by three campaigners, who were concerned about the environmental impact of the project, which is to occupy almost 166,000 square meters in County Galway, west Ireland.

It said the centre would create hundreds of jobs and is a critical piece of infrastructure necessary to deal with the exponential growth in demand for data processing and storage.

The huge project has been plagued by delays over the last two years after a small number of people objected to its construction, citing environmental issues and other concerns.

A spokesperson for Apple said that the company is not commenting on the judgment at this time.

Garry Connolly, Founder and President, Host in Ireland, told Data Economy: "We are delighted that the planning process has had a successful outcome for the Apple Data Hosting Centre in Galway".

Apple wants to build the data centre in this forest.Business Insider/Sam SheadApple wants to build eight data halls on a 500-acre site in Derrydonnell Forest, which is owned by state-sponsored forestry firm Coillte, and situated roughly three miles from Athenry. A decision was expected to be made in July, but was delayed until October thanks to a lack of High Court judges.

Galway County Council granted permission in Sept 2015 but that was appealed to An Bord Pleanála.

Apple has also announced plans to build a second data centre there, leading to fears it could shelve its Irish project. Following public hearings in Galway last summer, An Bord Pleanála gave Apple the go-ahead to build the facility last August.

The case will return to the courts on Monday, where it will be decided whether or not a further appeal can be made against Apple.

Up to 2,000 residents marched through Athenry in support of the data centre development back in November 2016.

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