IBEC: Delay in approving €850m Apple data centre has damaged Ireland's reputation

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

It is been two years since Apple announced plans to build two data centres in Europe – one in Denmark and one on Coillte owned lands in Athenry.

The Danish centre is on track to begin operations, but the Derrydonnell facility has been bogged down with legal challenges to the planning process.

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

Artists impression of proposed data centre.

The planning board gave it the green light the following year after deciding it wouldn’t have a significant effect on the protected nature sites.

But a number of residents appealed that decision to the High Court.

Sinead Fitzpatrick and Allan Daly claim it’s invalid on grounds including that the board failed to carry out a proper environmental assessment.

The case was fast-tracked to the Commercial Court and Mr. Justice Paul McDermott is due to deliver his judgement this morning

Orla Casey is a planning and infrastructure policy executive for IBEC, and says the case has damaged Ireland's reputation abroad.

"Every subsequent delay we have, whether it's through our appeals system, through our local authorities, through An Bord Pleanála or then when it goes through the courts, every subsequent delay to a project reduces its overall viability," she said.

"But also it reduces the overall attractiveness of Ireland as a place to do business and to invest in."



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