G’wan, Galway! Apple given the green light to build in the county


A 24,500 square metre data centre which will help run online services including the iTunes store, App store and Siri has been granted planning permission in Galway by An Bord Pleanála.

The establishment of the data centre, which is set to cost approximately €850 million, signals very welcome news for the Republic as it beat out 18 other countries also vying for the project.

Despite flooding fears, energy usage, environmental and climate change impact and wildlife issues being raised in objection, An Bord Pleanála this week ruled in favour of the project.

While acknowledging concerns, the board insisted that the centre's establishment would not infringe on the surrounding community.
"It is considered that the proposed development would not seriously injure the amenities of the area or of property in the vicinity, would not have an unacceptable visual impact, would not exacerbate risk of flooding in the vicinity, would not result in a risk of pollution, would not be prejudicial to public health, would be acceptable in terms of traffic safety and convenience, and would not have detrimental environmental impacts," they concluded.

The centre, which will be housed on a 197-hectare site near Athenry owned by State forestry company Coillte, will be comprised of large halls with an uninterrupted electricity supply which store data from smartphones, tablets and computers including images, video and documents.

Commenting on the landmark decision, local TD Ciaran Cannon suggested that Apple's decision to set up in Galway may act as a catalyst for other leading corporations.

"It is significant in terms of what it says to the world," he said.

"This is a development that needs high quality broadband, high quality power supply and this local economy has shown it can deliver." he added.

"It’s a very strong endorsement for the whole region and this is the beginning of what I hope will be a very significant ICT cluster."

According to the Irish Independent, 300 people are set to be employed during construction, while 150 will secure positions following the centre's establishment.

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