Apple campaigners celebrate at commercial court and in Athenry town

Apple campaigners celebrate at commercial court and in Athenry town

Apple may proceed to build a 850 million euro ($1 billion) data center in Ireland, the High Court ruled on Thursday, bringing relief for the government after a two-year planning delay which it feared could hurt its reputation with investors.

The decision to approve the planning permission was announced by judge Mr Justice McDermott from the High Court.

Apple's data centre ambitions for the west of Ireland are now set to blossom.

Ireland's global business reputation has been damaged by delays to the Apple data centre in Athenry, according to IBEC. It is expected that this appeal will be made and the process will continue.

Ireland's Data Economy stated that "The construction of the 166,000 sqm data centre is expected to generate up to 300 jobs during the different phases of expansion".

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Seán Kyne, Ireland's minister for community development, natural resources, and digital development, said it was "very positive news for Galway and the West of Ireland".

Galway County Council granted Apple planning permission in September 2015 but eight objectors took the issue to local planning body An Bord Pleanála. Objectors are likely to appeal the court's decision, meaning it could end up in the Supreme Court.

Without even having started to power Apple's services, the company's data centre in Athenry has already made some profound changes in Irish regulations and citizens involvement.

A number of local residents challenged An Bord Pleanála's decision amid concerns it hadn't carried out the necessary environmental assessment although the majority of Athenry residents are in favour the development and say it will secure the town's future.

Up to 2,000 residents marched through Athenry in support of the data centre development back in November 2016.

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