Irish High Court finally approves Apple's Athenry data centre

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Apple has finally been granted permission to build its €850M ($1B) European data center in Ireland, more than two-and-a-half years after it was first announced.

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Apple's data centre ambitions for the west of Ireland are now set to blossom.

The court refused a second challenge, pursued by local businessman Brian McDonagh about the project's conservation impacts on the area, and described it as "without substance" in the full 18-page judgment seen by Computer Weekly. The case will return to the courts on Monday, where it will be decided whether or not a further appeal can be made against Apple.

The data centres in Athenry and Denmark's Jutland are to be host to popular Apple services such as iCloud, Apple Music, Siri and various e-commerce activities. Projects that benefit society and the economy must be prioritised.

The data centre is expected to cost €850 million (£762 million) and create over 100 new jobs.

Two years ago, Apple announced its plans to build the data centre in Athenry, with a sister data centre also announced for Denmark.

Local TDs have welcomed the decision but have been critical of the planning delays.

"We (Irish) now need to tweak the planning process to include a time certainty to this process not just for Data Centres but for all large capital intense infrastructure projects".

The case will be mentioned again next week and the opposing residents may yet appeal today's decision, but Mr Doherty says that's for another day and he hopes today's result will lead to more investment in the west.

Apple executives met with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in September, and reportedly told him that the company was frustrated with the planning and judicial delays, Reuters reported. Planning approval was quickly granted before objections were lodged on environmental grounds.

Although a local council granted Apple permission to plan six months later, a series of appeals and environmental concerns prevented the tech giant from starting construction.