Apple's €850 million Irish data centre might not be home and dry after all

Apple Ireland data centreBusiness Insider/Sam SheadFields surrounding the site where Apple wants to build the data centre.
  • Apple wants to build a gigantic data centre in Athenry, County Galway.
  • But objectors have resulted in heavy delays and some are concerned that the data centre will never get built.

Apple’s proposed €850 million (£762 million) Irish data centre isn’t home and dry just yet.

A High Court judge ruled last Thursday that Apple should be able to build the server farm just outside the town Athenry on the west coast of Ireland, but two local residents are planning to appeal the decision, according to The Galway Advertiser.

The duo — who filed the original application with the High Court to overturn planning permission for the project — have reportedly requested a certificate to appeal the court ruling, which was passed by Justice Paul McDermott.

Their case is due back before Justice McDermott on Wednesday October 25, according to The Galway Advertiser.

Campaigner Paul Keane, who leads the Apple for Athenry Facebook group, told Business Insider that “the collective hearts of Athenry sank” when they heard the objectors planned to appeal the judge’s decision.

Apple wants to use the data centre 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.

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 decision on Apple’s Irish data centre was expected to be passed in July but a shortage of High Court judges pushed the verdict back to October.

Apple data centreAppleA computer-generated image of Apple’s data centre.

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 last August.

But local residents Sinéad Fitzpatrick, Allan Daly, and Wicklow landowner Brian McDonagh asked Ireland’s High Court for a judicial review on environmental grounds.

Apple has its European headquarters in Ireland and employs thousands of people in Cork, roughly two hours drive from Athenry.

The company’s relationship with the country is at an interesting point, with the European Commission ordering the Irish government to claim back €13 billion (£11.7 billion) in back taxes.

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