Ireland approves massive Apple data centre

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On Thursday, Apple received permission to build a $1 billion data center in Ireland, after a two year planning delay, Reuters reported.

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.

Apple had sought to have the cases fast-tracked in the Commercial Court, the big business division of the High Court, saying it was very anxious to proceed with the development. The objectors' main concern was the poor environmental impact assessment carried out by Apple. An Apple facility in Denmark announced at the same time is near completion, while the construction of the Athenry site has not yet begun.

Supporters of the project have banded together through the creation of the Athenry for Apple Facebook page and have previously held rallies in the town and have spoken at length about the direct and indirect benefits the town is sure to feel from the project going ahead.

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Ireland's worldwide business reputation has been damaged by delays to the Apple data centre in Athenry, according to IBEC.

The data centre is expected to cost €850 million (£762 million) and create over 100 new jobs.

Galway County Council granted permission in Sept 2015 but that was appealed to An Bord Pleanála.

Local TDs have welcomed the decision but have been critical of the planning delays. However, by November past year, three objectors - local residents Sinéad Fitzpatrick and Allan Daly, and Wicklow landowner Brian McDonagh - received permission to seek a full judicial review of the Apple decision by An Bord Pleanála.

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The Irish government is said to be considering making changes to its planning laws and processes in the wake of the case to prevent other would-be datacentre investors from having their plans kicked into the long grass as Apple has.

"Today's decision has been a great decision for Athenry and the whole west of Ireland", he said.

Planning approval was quickly granted but objections were filed on environmental grounds.

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