Court rejects appeal against €850m Apple project in Athenry


Tech giant Apple can now proceed with its €850m data centre in Athenry as the Commercial Court in Dublin has backed An Bord Pleanála's original decision to grant planning permission.

During the hearing at 11am on 12 October, Justice Paul McDermott rejected two judicial reviews raised by local objectors, paving the way for Apple to crack on with building its 24,500m datacentre - and accompanying 220kV power station - in Athenry's Derrydonnell Forest.

Work was due to get underway this year but the project was delayed due to a legal challenge to its planning permission.

"This had been a long-drawn out process, yet the local community and Apple have continuously demonstrated their commitment to the project and to investing in Ireland".

They accused the planning board of not carrying out the required environmental assessment.

The data centres in Athenry and Denmark's Jutland are to be host to popular Apple services such as iCloud, Apple Music, Siri and various e-commerce activities.

Supporters of the project have banded together through the creation of the Athenry for Apple Facebook page and have previously held rallies in the town and have spoken at length about the direct and indirect benefits the town is sure to feel from the project going ahead.

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Apple's decision to build one of two new data centres in Athenry was announced with great fanfare.

Speaking to Computer Weekly, John Moylan, a director of one of Athenry's largest local employers, SIP Energy, welcomed the judgment.

The following September, Galway County Council gave permission for it to proceed subject to conditions, but that decision was subsequently appealed to An Bord Pleanála.

The case will be mentioned again next week and the opposing residents may yet appeal today's decision, but Mr Doherty says that's for another day and he hopes today's result will lead to more investment in the west.

It said the centre would create hundreds of jobs and is a critical piece of infrastructure necessary to deal with the exponential growth in demand for data processing and storage.

Planning approval was quickly granted but objections were filed on environmental grounds.