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Apple abandons plans for Irish data centre following planning setbacks

APPLE HAS SCRAPPED plans to build an €850m (£743m) data centre in Ireland after three years of planning approval delays.

The company first announced plans for the data centre back in February 2015, noting that it would be based in Athenry, County Galway, would measure in at 166,000 square metres and would be 100 per cent powered by nearby renewable energy sources.

Apple had hoped that the Irish data centre, along with a second planned site in Denmark, would power European versions of online services like Siri, Apple Maps, iTunes and iMessage.

However, Reuters reports that the company confirmed this week that it has abandoned plans for the Athenry data centre after the project was stalled numerous times by a series of planning appeals by conservationists seeking to preserve a forest.

Last October, Ireland’s high court ruled that the data centre could proceed, dismissing the appellants – locals Allan Daly and Sinead Fitzpatrick.

However, although seemingly defeated, Daly and Fitzpatrick – who argued that Apple’s planned data centre would put too much strain on Ireland’s power grid – reportedly have taken the case to the Supreme Court to appeal once again.

That was the last straw for Apple it seems, as the firm said in a statement on Thursday: “Several years ago, we applied to build a data centre at Athenry. Despite our best efforts, delays in the approval process have forced us to make other plans and we will not be able to move forward with the data centre.

“While disappointing, this setback will not dampen our enthusiasm for future projects in Ireland as our business continues to grow.”

It was the latter issue on which the two main objectors in the case, Allan Daly and Sinead Fitzpatrick, have based many of their objections, as they have pursued various legal routes over the past two years in an attempt to halt Apple’s plans

Commenting on Apple’s decision, Heather Humphreys, Ireland’s minister for business and enterprise, said: “There is no disputing that Apple’s decision is very disappointing, particularly for Athenry and the west of Ireland.

“These delays have, if nothing else, underlined our need to make the state’s planning and legal processes more efficient.” µ

Source : Inquirer

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