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Opposition to Apple's Irish data center stages last-ditch appeal, hearing scheduled next week

Two of the Athenry residents who have long opposed Apple's Irish data center are hoping to appeal a Commercial Court decision which otherwise greenlit the $1 billion project, potentially signalling yet more delays.

Allan Daly and Sinead Fitzpatrick have "requested a certificate to appeal the decision," the Galway Advertiser said on Thursday. The case should return in front of Justice Paul McDermott on Oct. 25.

The pair's main argument has been that An Bord Pleanala didn't do a proper environmental impact assessment before granting approval. Daly —an American expat and environmental engineer —has become a figurehead for the opposition movement, raising concerns about issues like greenhouse gas emissions and potential strain on the Irish power grid. Apple has insisted that the facility will be environmentally friendly and avoid overloading systems.

Apple announced plans for Irish and Danish data centers in Feb. 2015, but while the Danish center is already close to completion, construction crews have yet to break ground in Ireland because of opposition and related delays. In June, a shortage of judges postponed a hearing on the matter.

The situation has created conflict in Athenry, with many local residents claiming that the data center is needed to boost the economy of the small town.