Apple given final go-ahead for Athenry data centre

Apple Athenry
Apple's proposed Athenry data centre

Commercial Court dismisses objections to €850m development

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12 October 2017 | 0

Apple’s proposed data centre in Athenry is to go ahead after the Commercial Court quashed two appeals against its construction today.

An Bord Pleanala granted permission to Apple to build the €850 million facility in 2015 on a greenfield site. The centre was expected to provide 300 jobs in the construction phase and a further 100 jobs.

Three objections had been lodged against the development but were dismissed today by Mr Justice McDermott, who accepted the results of the board’s environmental impact report.

Reaction to the decision has been positive from both political and business spheres.

Indepedent TD Noel Grealish welcomes the result but said he was “concerned that other major international companies may also have their future plans influenced by Apple’s experience”.

“It all points to a need to reform our planning laws so that important infrastructural development such as this do not get caught up in years of objections and appeal after appeal.”

Ibec executive Orla Casey also welcomed the decision but said the case raised important questions about the planning process.

“We want Ireland to be an attractive place to do business, create jobs and invest. Our planning system needs to support this,” said Casey. “Instead, our planning system has descended into a black hole of bureaucracy.

“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. This had been a long drawn-out process, yet the local community and Apple have continuously demonstrated their commitment to the project and to investing in Ireland… A streamlined and more certain planning process will unlock new investment, including speedier delivery of much needed infrastructure projects across all regions of Ireland.”

Mark Redmond, CEO, American Chamber of Commerce Ireland, said: “While there should always be appropriate checks and balances in place, it is vital that Ireland is best-in-class on the global stage if we are to maintain our very strong track record for inward investment.

“This will also help us to enhance our growing reputation as a world class home for cloud technologies and data… It also gives US companies confidence that Ireland is the right choice to be the global home for their data – which for many is their most valuable asset.”

Apple did not release an official statement.

TechCentral Reporters

 

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