Apple has finally been given permission by Ireland’s High Court to build a huge new data centre in Athenry, County Galway, that is expected to cost €850 million (£762 million) and create over 100 new jobs.
The data centre has been plagued by delays after a small number of local residents objected to its construction, citing environmental issues and other concerns.
A decision was expected to be passed in July but a shortage of High Court judges pushed the verdict back to October.
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.
At the time, it said it intended to spend €1.7 billion (£1.5 billion) on a data centre in Ireland and another in Denmark, with each one costing €850 million (£752 million).
The Denmark data centre is expected to go live later this year but the project on the west coast of Ireland, just outside a small town called Athenry in County Galway, has been held up by objectors.
Galway County Council granted Apple planning permission in September 2015 but eight objectors took the issue to local planning body An Bord Pleanála. Following public hearings in Galway last summer, An Bord Pleanála gave Apple the go-ahead to build the facility in August.
But local residents Sinéad Fitzpatrick, Allan Daly, and Wicklow landowner Brian McDonagh asked the High Court for a judicial review on environmental grounds, something that could delay the project by a year and a half.
Apple managed to get the case fast-tracked through Ireland’s Commercial Court after it filed a request last November but a final decision is yet to be passed. Around the same time, thousands of people in Athenry marched in favour of the data centre.
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.
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