It was announced today that Apple has scraped its plans to build a €850m data centre in Athenry, Co Galway, citing delays in the Irish planning process. This was in relation to a Supreme Court appeal against An Bord Pleanála’s decision to grant planning permission on their lands in Athenry.
The data centre would have been one of the largest in Europe with 300 temporary construction jobs and 50 permanent technical jobs for the site at Derrydonnell Woods, near Athenry.
It was designed to service Apple’s European business in online services for Apple Music, iCloud, the App Store, Messages, Maps and Siri.
Apple is the new top company In Ireland with sales of €119bn according to The 2018 edition of The Irish Times Top 1,000 Companies list which was released today.. Disclosures made last year as part of a European Commission into its tax affairs revealed that Apple puts all its sales outside of the US through Ireland and as a result of its massive turnover it dominates the 2018 listings.
Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, has expressed dissappointment with the decision. Speaking today, Minister Humphreys said, "I very much regret that Apple will not be pursuing its plans to construct a data centre in Athenry, especially as the project would have been a source of significant investment and job creation for Galway and the West of Ireland. Notwithstanding this bad news, I welcome that Apple have confirmed that they are strongly committed to their existing operations in Ireland. The Government, together with IDA Ireland, did everything it could to support this investment. This included high-level engagement with the company, both at home and abroad. Ultimately, in spite of these efforts, Apple has taken a commercial decision not to proceed, making it clear that the delays that beset this project caused them to reconsider their plans."
She added, "These delays have, if nothing else, underlined our need to make the State’s planning and legal processes more efficient. The Government has therefore already been working, over the last number of months, to make improvements to those processes. This will ensure we are better placed to take advantage of future such investment opportunities, whether from data centre providers or other sectors."