Apple data centre objectors to appeal Athenry decision

The €850m investment has been held up by legal challenges

Two residents of Athenry in County Galway have decided to apply for an appeal against last week’s decision not to block a proposed data centre in the town.

The Commercial Court had paved the way for work to begin on Apple’s multi-million Euro project by refusing the challenge.

The €850m investment has been held up for years while a similar project in Denmark – originally announced alongside the Galway plans – is now close to completion.

The Danish centre will be up and running by the end of the year.

Legal challenges

Apple was given the go-ahead to proceed with the development by Galway County Council in February 2015.

That decision was re-affirmed by An Bord Pleanála in August 2016 – however the project has been delayed by a judicial review undertaken by three objectors to the project.

Sinead Fitzpatrick and Allan Daly claim An Bord Pleanála failed to carry out the necessary environmental assessment before green-lighting the plan.

Last Thursday however, Mr Justice Paul McDermott dismissed their applications.

Appeal application

Campaigners for the project, which promises to bring hundreds of jobs to Athenry, celebrated the news, but their celebrations could be short-lived.

Mr Justice McDermott was told today that Ms Fitzpatrick and Mr Daly intend to apply for an appeal of his decision.

They have two possible avenues of appeal:

  • They can apply to have their case heard in the Court of Appeal
  • They can seek a hearing before the Supreme Court if they can establish that their case raises issues of general public importance or if it is in the interests of justice to do so.

Their case is due back before Mr Justice McDermott next week.

Capital investment

One of the biggest capital investment projects earmarked for the west of Ireland the centre is expected to create 300 construction jobs and 150 permanent on-site jobs - should permission be granted.

Apple recently announced plans to build a second data centre in Denmark, leading to fears it could shelve its Irish project.

The Taoiseach has previously insisted that Apple remains committed to the plan – pending planning approval.