Thousands of people marched in support of an €850 million (£757 million) data centre that Apple wants to build in Ireland over the weekend.
The march was organised by a group called Athenry for Apple and attended by more than 2,000 people, according to The Irish Times.
Apple is trying to build an enormous server farm in a forest just outside Athenry, County Galway.
However, a small handful of locals have been doing their best to derail the project in recent months, filing complaints with the Galway County Council, local planning body An Bord Pleanála, and now the High Court.
In a bid to show that the wider Athenry community supports Apple’s plans, local residents marched through the centre of Athenry on Sunday. Many of them are deeply upset that Apple’s data centre is facing ongoing delays and some of them are concerned that Apple will abandon its plans altogether if it’s held up much longer.
Apple’s west Ireland data centre is facing an 18 month delay after three Irish residents — Allan Daly, Sinead Fitzpatrick, and Brian McDonagh — appealed against a local planning body giving the development the green light in August.
Apple has asked the High Court to fast-track the legal challenge brought about by the three individuals. It specifically wants to put the dispute on a “commercial list,” which is a dedicated court division designed to deal with legal disputes that have more than €1 million (£900,000) at stake.
The High Court will consider the motion on November 7. If it agrees, then the dispute will likely be settled within six months.
Apple 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.
Apple first announced the data centre in February 2015, saying at the time that it will build a similar facility in Denmark, which is already well underway.
Apple wants to use the data centres to store European user data and to help power online services, including the iTunes Store, the App Store, iMessage, Maps, and Siri for customers across Europe, according to a press release.