Apple succeeds in getting Athenry challenge fast-tracked

High Court agrees to put dispute on "commercial list"...

Apple has successfully ensured that a legal challenge to its planned data centre in Athenry, County Galway, will be fast-tracked through the Commercial Court.

The High Court decided on Monday to add the case to the commercial list, after Apple Distribution International director Catherine Kearney called for the case involving a proposed €850m development near Athenry to be heard "as expeditiously as possible".

Kearney said that such data centres were "critical pieces of infrastructure required to support the worldwide demand for global storage necessary to cater for the rapid expansion in wireless electronic communication, entertainment and work."

Sinéad Fitzpatrick and Allan Daly had initiated the case in the High Court last month, claiming that An Bórd Pleanála failed to carry out a proper environmental impact assessment before giving it the green light in August.

Apple is now set to apply to have a separate action brought by a Wicklow landowner Brian McDonagh transferred to the Commercial Court. McDonagh, representing himself, objected to the fast-tracking, arguing that it would prejudice his action. That will be decided when the matter returns before the court next Monday.

Apple wants both cases to be heard together, with a hearing date fixed for March 2017.