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Apple Irish datacentre objectors to seek fresh High Court appeal against project

The remaining objectors to Apple’s plans to build a datacentre in Athenry, Ireland, are preparing to launch another appeal against the project, which has now been delayed by more than two and a half years

The objectors to Apple’s plans to build a datacentre in Athenry, Ireland, have until 9.30am on Friday 20 October to appeal against the Irish High Court’s rejection of a judicial review into the project.

At a hearing in the Irish High Court at 2pm today, Allan Daly and Sinead Fitzpatrick were told they have until Friday to contest the court’s decision to quash their long-running legal challenge against Apple’s plans to build a 24,500m2 datacentre in Athenry.

The onus is on them to identify a point of law of “exceptional public importance” on which to base their appeal in order to secure the judge’s approval to proceed with it during a hearing on Friday, Computer Weekly understands.

Daly and Fitzpatrick have been pursuing a judicial review against independent Irish planning body An Bord Plenala (ABP) for giving Apple the go-ahead for the project.

ABP’s involvement in the planning process followed environmental objections raised against Galway County Council’s decision to give Apple conditional consent to proceed with the project in September 2015.

On 12 October 2017, the Irish High Court quashed the pair’s attempts to block Apple’s plans in this way, while also rejecting a separate judicial review – bought by local businessman Brian McDonagh – for being “without substance”.

The complainants were given until 2pm on Monday 16 October to appeal against the court’s ruling, and a further 24 hours after Hurricane Ophelia forced the court to remain closed until today.

Read more about the Irish datacentre market

  • Irish planning officials have confirmed it could take up to another two months to decide if the plans for Amazon’s €1bn datacentre in Dublin should be tweaked to become more environmentally friendly.
  • Ireland has emerged as an accommodating host to many of the global hyperscale community’s major players in recent years, with the likes of Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft collectively investing billions of pounds in building datacentres on the island.

The project has already been delayed by more than two and a half years, because of planning appeals and court date deferments.

Supporters of the project – banding together as Athenry for Apple – fear the consumer electronics giant may decide to cut its losses and build the datacentre elsewhere if it encounters any more delays.

Similarly, the Irish government is said to be considering an overhaul of the country’s planning laws to prevent other firms from facing similar delays and opposition when building datacentres in Ireland, which, in turn, may harm its position as a burgeoning tech hub.

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