Ireland on Thursday gave the green light for tech giant Apple to build an 850-million-euro ($1.0-billion) data centre following a battle with conservationists who were seeking to preserve a forest.
The decision was so long delayed that Apple not only had time to complete construction of the Danish data center announced at the same time, but to announce a second one there - raising concerns that the company may have given up on Ireland ...
On Sunday Patently Apple posted a report titled "A Hardy Group of Irishman from Athenry attended a Rally today Supporting Apple's Proposed Data Centre". They alleged the facility would have a negative impact on people living around the site, and also on the fauna and flora at the Derrydonnell Woods, around Athenry, east of Galway, where the data centre is to be built. It is expected that this appeal will be made and the process will continue.
At its peak, the investment in Galway is estimated to be worth more than €1bn and would put Ireland on the global digital map as well as encouraging more digital investments and data centres to go west.
Galway County Council granted permission in Sept 2015 but that was appealed to An Bord Pleanála.
"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.
But local residents Sinéad Fitzpatrick, Allan Daly, and Wicklow landowner Brian McDonagh asked Ireland's High Court for a judicial review on environmental grounds.
Apple intends to use the data centre to store European user data from services such as iMessage, iTunes and the App store.
A decision on Apple's Irish data centre was expected to be passed in July but a shortage of High Court judges pushed the verdict back to October. This prompted 2,000 local people from Athenry to march in support of the data centre a year ago.