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Facebook confirms plans to build second European datacentre in Ireland

Social networking giant Facebook puts paid to weeks of speculation by confirming plans to open new datacentre in Ireland

Facebook has confirmed that it’s planning to spend more than €200m on a second European datacentre, this time in Ireland, resulting in the creation of around 115 jobs.

The company is understood to have submitted a formal planning application to build the site in Clonee, County Meath, on Monday 15 June, after reports circulated in May 2015 about the social networking giant’s plans to increase its European datacentre footprint.

The facility will be constructed in two phases within the next 10 years, Meath County Council has confirmed. It will be the second datacentre Facbook has built in Europe, after opening its first in Sweden in June 2013.

Research by Boston Consulting Group suggests the opening of Facebook’s Lulea datacentre in Sweden has generated around €370m of economic benefit for the country.

The Irish development is expected to draw on local renewable energy supplies to power the facility. It will also have access to fibre-based web connections to ensure a fast response when Facebook users post new updates to the social networking site, for example.   

Rachel Peterson, datacentre director at Facebook, said the news reinforces its commitment to growing its business in Ireland, which has been home to the firm’s European headquarters since 2007.

“We hope to build an innovative, environmentally friendly datacentre that will help us continue to connect people around the world while supporting local job creation and Ireland’s successful technology economy,” said Peterson.

“We look forward to continuing our conversations with the Clonee community in coming weeks.”

The planning application will still need to win the approval of council chiefs, who confirmed they have lobbied hard to entice Facebook to build the datacentre in Ireland.

“This application sends out a clear message to the business community in Ireland and abroad that Meath is open for business,” said Jackie Maguire, CEO of Meath County Council.

“Our target is to increase new investments by 40% and attract 15% additional client companies. This will enable the county to prosper as a distinct and diverse location to do business and in doing so create 7,500 new jobs.”

Read more about datacentre investments

Microsoft is preparing to increase its datacentre footprint in Ireland, after submitting a planning permission application for a new 7,609 square metres facility in County Dublin.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is under renewed pressure to increase the amount of renewable energy used to power its datacentres by 2020, despite assurances about its progress in this area.

The news was also welcomed by local councillor, Brian Fitzgerald, as it coincides with the work the county is doing to attract more companies to the area.

“This application from such a high profile, internationally recognised company is a positive endorsement of our county,” he said.

“We are committed to working with FDI (foreign direct investment) companies as well as national and local business to ensure that we provide the support and services necessary to ensure that companies can run their businesses successfully and create sustainable jobs for those living in the county.”

Datacentre operators flock to Ireland

Ireland is fast-emerging as a popular site for US tech giants to build datacentres, as its temperate climate means operators can afford to spend less on cooling the facilities than in hotter parts of the world.

Indeed, Microsoft filed a planning permission application in May 2015 to build a 7,609 square meters facility in County Dublin. If approved, this will be the fifth such site the company has built at the Grange Castle International Business Park in Clondalkin.



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