Apple has started trying to convince people in Ireland to get behind an €850 million (£648 million) data centre that it wants to build in the middle of a forest, according to Galway Bay FM.
The Silicon Valley tech giant reportedly told an oral hearing at the Connacht Hotel in Galway on Tuesday that the data centre will pave the way for further development and investment into the area.
Up to 100 people reportedly heard Apple say that it is committed to becoming a part of the local community, adding that it will minimise the amount of disturbance.
It’s not clear which Apple employee(s) spoke at the hearing.
Apple intends to use the data centre — which would be situated in the middle of Derrydonnell Forest near a small town called Athenry, in County Galway, on the west coast of Ireland — 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.
Business Insider visited the site that Apple wants to build on in February and found that most people in the surrounding area are in favour of the proposed development, which could create up to 300 jobs in the area — initially for construction workers but ultimately for IT professionals.
However, a number of organisations and individuals are concerned that the facility will have a detrimental impact on the area, with increased flooding and harm to the habitats of bats and badgers, among the concerns.
Galway County Council granted Apple planning permission for the first phase of its eight hall data centre last September.
Following the approval, 28 parties wrote to Irish planning body An Bord Pleanála to either appeal the decision or make an observation.
Up to 12 groups or individuals spoke at the oral hearing on Tuesday, according to Galway FM.
The oral hearing is being overseen by An Bord Pleanála inspector Stephen Kay and is expected to continue until the end of the week. It will reportedly address three main issues that were raised in the written submissions: energy and climate change impacts, site selection, and location.