Objectors may appeal Apple’s data centre
Objectors to Apple’s plans for a data centre near Athenry in east Galway are considering whether to appeal the Commercial Court ruling which paves the way for the first phase of the ¤850 million project.
In separate judgments yesterday, Mr Justice Paul McDermott rejected two judicial review challenges to the planned data hall at Derrydonnell, Athenry – the first of eight such halls Apple may build over 15 years on a 500-acre site.
Rejecting arguments that the first data hall was a development that could only properly be considered as part of the overall master plan, Mr Justice McDermott held that the hall can operate on a standalone basis, and can go ahead irrespective of future proposals for the site.
Neither Apple nor the parties seeking the judicial reviews made any public comment yesterday. An appeal has not been ruled out, and objectors were said to be studying the judgement last night.
Athenry residents who support the project, along with business groups , welcomed the decision. Minister of State Seán Kyne, a TD for the Galway-West constituency, said while the court ruling was “great news for Athenry and the country”, the delays had caused “some loss of reputation internationally”.
In February 2015, Apple first announced its plans to construct the data centre as one of two in Europe on a site at Derrydonnell woods, acquired from Coillte for an undisclosed sum.
Galway County Council approved the plan in September, 2015, and this was appealed to An Bord Pleanála, which gave planning permission with more conditions in August 2016.
A concurrent application for the construction of a 220kV substation and a grid connection was submitted directly to the appeals board and approved.
The large energy requirements of data centres and the need for an environmental impact assessment of all eight proposed data halls were central to the judicial review sought by local residents Allan Daly and Sinead Fitzpatrick, while a separate review was taken by Brian McDonagh, Unit 1, Ballymount Cross Business Park, Dublin.
The parties have been given just four days to consider Mr Justice McDermott’s rulings, and are due back before him on Monday to confirm whether they intend to seek permission to appeal the decision.
The parties are due back on Monday to confirm whether they intend to seek permission to appeal the decision
Celebrations in Athenry yesterday on hearing the Apple data centre decision.