Court rejects appeal against €850m Apple project in Athenry

The case has been put back for a week to allow the objectors to respond

Court rejects appeal against €850m Apple project in Athenry

Artist's impression of proposed Athenry data centre

The Commercial Court has rejected an application to quash planning permission for Apple’s new multi-million Euro data centre in Athenry.

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.

Apple has also announced plans to build a second data centre there, leading to fears it could shelve its Irish project.

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.

Planning permission

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.

This morning Mr Justice Paul McDermott rejected that application – but put the case back for a week to allow them to respond.

Noel Doherty from the campaign group ‘Apple for Athenry’ travelled to Dublin to hear today’s judgement in person:

“Today’s decision has been a great decision for Athenry and the whole west of Ireland,” he said.

“I hope now that our public representatives will help us to develop the west coast of Ireland and to bring companies like Apple in to Athenry - and make Athenry a hub town for the whole of the west coast.

Environmental impact assessment

Two of the objectors, Sinéad Fitzpatrick and Allan Daly, claimed planning bosses failed to carry out a proper environmental impact assessment.

In his decision Mr Justice McDermott said An Bord Pleanála had undertaken an assessment that “encompassed consideration of the relevant cumulative effects both direct and indirect of the proposed development.”

He said its decision in this regard was “unimpeachable.”

The saga could yet run on for many more months, as the challengers retain the option to appeal the decision.

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