In Athenry they hope Ap­ple’s data cen­tre brings busi­ness in its wake

Irish Independent - - Business - Caro­line Craw­ford

AS busi­nesses opened their doors in Athenry yes­ter­day most were breath­ing a sigh of re­lief.

The town has weath­ered a tough re­ces­sion and while the mood for the fu­ture is pos­i­tive some were won­der­ing just how long they could sus­tain busi­ness with­out a se­ri­ous in­jec­tion into the town.

This week’s court de­ci­sion to al­low the €850m Ap­ple data cen­tre to go ahead was what many were hop­ing for. Ea­mon and Cather­ine Neary have run The Shop­ping Bas­ket gro­cery store in the town for the past 30 years. Fol­low­ing the clo­sure of Cen­tra ear­lier this year, it is now the only gro­cery shop in the cen­tre of Athenry.

“We’re the last one stand­ing and we’ve see a lot of changes over the years. We hope there are very good times com­ing. The town would go on any­way but not at the same rate if this Ap­ple de­vel­op­ment doesn’t hap­pen,” said Ea­mon.

“It’s not just Ap­ple but what it could bring with it,” he added.

Auc­tion­eer Pat Cal­lanan, who has run a busi­ness in the town for 20 years, has seen a rise in in­ter­est in prop­er­ties lo­cally.

“It is on the road to re­cov­ery and we’ve been see­ing a rise in calls. It’s not re­ally about Ap­ple but what will come on the back of Ap­ple. The IDA con­trols so much land here and if other busi­nesses fol­low it will have a ma­jor im­pact,” he said.

Although ob­jec­tors have un­til Mon­day lunchtime to lodge an ap­peal, lo­cals are hope­ful that this is the end of the saga.

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