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Irish High Court finally approves Apple's Athenry data centre

12 October 2017

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

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".

A spokesperson for Apple said that the company is not commenting on the judgment at this time. Keane told Business Insider that Irish laws need to be changed to prevent similar delays in the future.

The decision does not end the process, however.

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.

The huge project has been plagued by delays over the last two years after a small number of people objected to its construction, citing environmental issues and other concerns.

Apple in February 2015 announced plans to build the data center in a rural location in the west of Ireland to take advantage of rich green energy sources nearby. They alleged the facility would have a negative impact on people living around the site, and also on the fauna and flora at the Derrydonnell Woods, around Athenry, east of Galway, where the data centre is to be built.

The following September, Galway County Council gave permission for it to proceed subject to conditions, but that decision was subsequently appealed to An Bord Pleanála.

However, by November previous year, three objectors - local residents Sinéad Fitzpatrick and Allan Daly, and Wicklow landowner Brian McDonagh - received permission to seek a full judicial review of the Apple decision by An Bord Pleanála.

However, Business Insider reports that Ireland's top court has now heard the case and ruled in Apple's favor, allowing the project to go ahead.

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

Irish High Court finally approves Apple's Athenry data centre