Published: Thu, May 10, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Apple cancels plans for Ireland data center due to court delays

Apple cancels plans for Ireland data center due to court delays

Fears over the future of the data centre project have been growing for some time now, and became particularly strong when Apple CEO Tim Cook refused to say Apple was committed to the project at a meeting with An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar previous year.

"Despite our best efforts, delays in the approval process have forced us to make other plans and we will not be able to move forward with the data centre", Apple said in a statement ahead of the Supreme Court hearing on Thursday. But today, the iPhone giant confirmed that it was cancelling the first of those two projects, after too many delays in the approval process, which today appeared to be extending in a way that could go on for a long time to come.

A similar Apple center announced at the same time in Denmark was due to begin operations past year and Apple announced in July that it would build its second European Union data center there.

Apple had announced plans in February 2015 to build the facility in a rural location in the west of Ireland to take advantage of green energy sources nearby, but the project has faced a two-year delay due to planning objections.

Last year, Ireland's High Court dismissed planning permission appeals - prompting protesters to take their case to the country's Supreme Court.

"While disappointing, this setback will not dampen our enthusiasm for future projects in Ireland as our business continues to grow". Apple announced plans to build a second one in Denmark in July.

Shanahan echoed Humphreys in the call for more efficient and concrete planning regulations: "As I said previously, we need a much higher degree of predictability in relation to our planning processes".

But he added they were trying to stay positive and focus on how the site Apple had designated for its data centre could be developed.

The Irish data center would have been the biggest in Europe, creating 300 temporary construction jobs and 50 permanent technical positions.

But their efforts will not have been in vain, said Cannon, because the case has already prompted the Irish government to start pushing through reforms to the way planning applications are handled in the country.

In a statement released to RTE News this morning, Apple said: "We've been operating in Ireland since 1980 and we're proud of the many contributions we make to the economy and job creation". The company now employs over 5,500 people in Ireland.

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