Wednesday, 20 June, 2018

Apple Scrap Plan For Athenry

An artist's impression oft he now-scrapped proposed Apple data centre in Athenry An artist's impression oft he now-scrapped proposed Apple data centre in Athenry
Russell Knight | 10 May, 2018, 14:30

Building the data centre was expected to involve roughly 300 temporary construction jobs and once it was complete, operating it would have involved 150 full time jobs.

The company, which was facing a fresh Supreme Court and European Court appeal to a facility it announced more than three years ago, is proceeding with a second data centre in Denmark.

"In the last two years, we've spent over €550 million with local companies and, all told, our investment and innovation supports more than 25,000 jobs up and down the country".

The Minister 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".

Apple has ditched proposals to build an €850 million ($1 billion/£742 million) Irish data centre after planning delays.

Today's news will be seen as blow for the residents of Athenry who hoped that the data centre would not only create jobs, but lure more high tech investment to the area.

Apple has had a presence in Ireland since 1980, when it opened a manufacturing facility in Cork employing 60 staff.

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The firm added that while disappointing, the setback would not dampen its enthusiasm for future projects in Ireland as its business grows.

The 24,500 square metre data centre will cater for the company's Apple Music, App Store, Messages, Maps and Siri customers in Europe.

Apple's decision is also being viewed with concern in business and investment organisations such as the IDA and Ibec, which have been critical of the negative effect that planning delays can have on industrial policy in the country.

The government claimed that Apple has paid the full amount due to the Irish state from 2004 to 2014 and denies it gave it "selective treatment".

But the campaigners won last week their Supreme Court bid for their appeal to be heard, delaying the process even further.

Such European referrals can take years in legal delays and hearings. "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", said Ms Humphreys.

Galway East TD Seán slammed the slow pace of the process through the court system and warned this could scare off businesses considering investing in Ireland.

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