The construction of a proposed £742 million Irish data centre has been cancelled by Apple, just days before the country’s courts were due to hear an appeal from protesters who aimed to stop the first phase of building.
Apple announced in 2015 that it would build a 44-acre data centre in Athenry, Co Galway. The data centre would be built in a rural part of Ireland and was projected to bring over 300 jobs to the local area during the construction phase. Apple planned to maintain a staff of a 150 technical workers over an ongoing basis.
Noting their disappointment Apple said in a statement before a supreme court hearing on Thursday that they would not continue with plans to build the centre.
“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.’’
When Apple first announced their plans for the data centre locals in the Athenry, Galway region submitted an objection to the Irish planning board, An Bord Pleanála.
In their objection they cited increased traffic, noise and light pollution as concerns if the proposal was to go ahead. Within the locals’ objections was concern about damage the building of the centre would do to the local Bat and Badger community in the forests on and near the site. The appeals process has being ongoing for three years in the Irish courts.
Speaking after Apple had made its decision Ireland’s Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys said: “I very much regret that Apple will not be pursuing its plans to construct a data centre in Athenry, especially as the project would have been a source of significant investment and job creation for Galway and the West of Ireland.’’
This news comes after a rocky month for relations between Apple and Ireland as the Irish Government was forced by the European Commission into collecting $15 billion in tax from the tech giant. The commission ruled that the benefits Apple received on tax it owed to the Irish state were illegal under the current EU regulations.