High Court rules in favour of Apple's plan for Athenry data centre

West reawakens as Apple gets green light to build Athenry data centre

The Commercial Court has refused applications to overturn a decision to grant planning permission to Apple to build an €850m data centre in Athenry, Co.

High Court judge Paul McDermott dismissed the appeals brought by three campaigners, who were concerned about the environmental impact of the project, which is to occupy almost 166,000 square meters in County Galway, west Ireland.

The data centre project has been plagued by delays since it was announced in 2015.

"This is a very important step for Athenry and for Apple", said Paul Keane, who heads up the Athenry for Apple Facebook page, which has over 4,000 members.

Both challenges were taken against An Bord Pleanala, with Apple Distribution Ireland, developer of the centre, as a notice party.

The decision does not end the process, however.

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The huge project has been plagued by delays over the last two years after a small number of people objected to its construction, citing environmental issues and other concerns.

Apple wants to use the data centre to store European user data and to help power online services, including the iTunes Store, the App Store, iMessage, Maps, and Siri for customers across Europe.

Ireland's global business reputation has been damaged by delays to the Apple data centre in Athenry, according to IBEC. However, the first hearing in June was delayed by a week, then it was held back to 27 July, with the final decision emerging today (12 October).

The project, originally announced in 2015, was challenged by three objectors who put forward a review request to the An Bord Pleanála, an independent, statutory, quasi-judicial body that decides on appeals from planning decisions made by local authorities in Ireland.

The case will return to the courts on Monday, where it will be decided whether or not a further appeal can be made against Apple. This prompted 2,000 local people from Athenry to march in support of the data centre a year ago.

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