Apple’s Controversial Data Center in Ireland Gets Stalled Again
On June 23, 2017, a judge was expected to make a final ruling on Apple’s plans to build a data center in Athenry, Ireland. Instead, the Irish Courts Service cited a “shortage of High Court Judges, practitioners and parties,” and pushed the court date back to July 30, when presumably someone will be available to preside. If the June 23 ruling had happened, it would’ve been the official verdict in a tug-of-war between Apple and Irish citizens that started two years ago.
Apple first proposed the Athenry data center back in February 2015, but a series of obstacles have halted the project. Essentially, the building plans are gridlocked by a small band of Irish locals. This standoff is resulting in a true battle of wills, where neither side plans on budging. However, with such mounting tensions, many outsiders wonder why Apple hasn’t already taken its business elsewhere. Keep reading to discover why the powerful company’s plans are being foiled.Dozens of Jobs Created
Firstly, let’s delve into the positive aspects of Apple’s proposed $962-million data center. Ireland’s town of Athenry is a tiny place of 5,000 citizens, located in County Galway. It’s a region that’s desperately in need of jobs.
If Apple’s building project gets a green light, they’ve promised dozens of new employment opportunities. Once the Athenry data center is completed, 150 people would be hired to work inside of it. Additionally, during the building process, Apple must rely on local workers to help with its construction.
Covering a 500-acre site in Derrydonnell Forest, the sprawling facilities would include eight data halls. Alongside a sister center in Denmark, the Athenry hub would host Apple’s user data and facilitate its online services across Europe. Its creation is meant to significantly benefit iPhone users, the Apple Store, and the iTunes Store.
Since Apple’s Irish data center would provide such immense benefits, it’s difficult to believe that locals would contest its creation. However, a trio of Athenry citizens led by Allan Day strongly objects the project. An environmental engineer by trade, Allan Daly is quite vocal about his concerns regarding the data center’s ecological footprint. He believes that the Apple facility would put a strain on Ireland’s electrical grid, while emitting unmitigated greenhouse gases into Europe.
Since first meeting with Allan Daly in August 2015, Apple spokespeople have contested his claims at every turn. They’ve stated repeatedly that the data center would run on renewable energy, but Daly remains unsatisfied. Even after Apple was given a stamp of approval by the Galway City Counsel, Daly’s campaigns to Ireland’s High Court have successfully stalled Apple’s building plans for 1.5 years. Hopefully on July 30, this messy situation will finally be resolved – but no one is holding their breath!
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