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Apple's $1 billion Athenry, Ireland data center approved after legal challenges squashed

The Irish courts have spoken, and Apple is now permitted to go forward after a long battle over environmental and power concerns for its Athenry, Ireland data center.




According to the Independent in Ireland on Thursday, Justice Paul McDermott refused two challenges to Apple's plans to build the data center in Derrydonnell, Athenry. While the ruling has not been made public, the two challenges to the proposal appear to have been shot down because the petitioners didn't correctly follow procedures to discuss the concerns with the Galway County Council prior to the court hearing.

Apple unveiled plans to build in Denmark and Athenry on the same day in February 2016. The project in Viborg, Denmark is very near completion, and the first of two Irish data center projects Apple wants in the region is only just now exiting the planning phases.

The main spearhead behind the resistance to the Athenry data center was Allan Daly. Daly is an American-born immigrant and environmental engineer, and raised multiple objections to the data center. Daly's concerns centered around strain on the Irish electrical grid and no apparent plans to cope with greenhouse gas emissions from the data center.

Apple's project was initially approved by Irish planning councils, but Daly and fellow residents Sinead Fitzpatrick and Brian McDonagh appealed the decision to Ireland's An Bord Pleanala in Sept. 2015. The appeal wasn't granted, forcing Daly to the High Court for review of the case.

At Thursday's hearing, McDonagh said that he had no objections to Apple being in Athenry, but wanted to assure that "proper planning procedures" were followed.

A hearing in June about the matter was postponed over "a lack of judges" available to hear the case. The manpower shortage wasn't that transparent, until a six-person delegation from the "Apple for Athenry" advocacy group arrived and found it closed.

Apple's effort wasn't the only one that Daly wants stopped. Daly continues to battle a $1 billion Amazon data center in Dublin.