Apple has been given the green light to put up a data center in the western part of Ireland. This comes after the High Court dismissed planning appeals which would have prevented the building of the data center. Approximately $1 billion is expected to be spent on the construction of the facility.
The tech giant had announced plans for the data center in early 2015 at the same time as another one in Denmark. Construction of the Danish data center is already underway and is expected to be complete and ready to start operations in 2018. Resistance from members of the community at the Irish site that Apple had earmarked has been the course of the delay.
Local government approval
Despite the fact that approval for the data center was given by Galway County Council in September 2015 community members opposed the move saying the facility would increase pollution and endanger the lives of local badgers and bats. The facility’s expected high energy consumption was also a concern for the locals. At the time of giving the approval about 150 jobs were expected to be created.
Besides Galway County Council the National Planning Board of Ireland also gave its approval in August 2016 after a review was conducted. An appeal of the decision was however filed by Brian McDonagh, a landowner in Wicklow, in the High Court. His suit was however rejected earlier in the year and now the High Court has also dismissed the arguments of other plaintiffs in the suit, Sinead Fitzpactrick and Allan Daly.
The Irish government is dependent on foreign firms in employment creation. About 10% of the jobs in the Irish economy are created by foreign multinationals. Last month Prime Minister of Ireland, Leo Varadkar, met executives of Apple who expressed their frustration over the judicial and planning delays. The executives are understood to have warned that this would have an impact on future decisions by the tech giant to invest in Ireland.
The government of Ireland has previously said that it is weighing the amendment of planning laws with a view to having data centers classified as strategic infrastructure in order to quicken the approval process.