Apple scraps plans for data centre in Athenry, Galway

Posted By

Cathal McKeever

11/05/2018

Apple planned to invest €850m in the new data centre, which would create 300 jobs.

 

West of Ireland industry has been dealt a hammer blow after Apple formally pulled out of the anticipated €850million data centre for Athenry in Galway.

The biggest company in the world was ready to build its massive plant in Galway, before protesters scuppered their plans with renewed appeals that have mired the project in red tape since the development was first announced in February 2015.

Planning and court procedures involving objections could have kept the project stalled for another two to three years, and on foot of the prospect of this, Apple has finally pulled the plug

It is understood that the investment earmarked for Ireland will now go to Denmark, where another data centre announced at the same time as ours in 2015 is already nearing completion.

The official statement from Apple said that jobs at their other bases here - with some first established here as far back as 1980 - are safe and secure.

“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.

"While disappointing, this setback will not dampen our enthusiasm for future projects in Ireland as our business continues to grow.

"We're deeply committed to our employees and customers in Ireland and are expanding our operations in Cork, with a new facility for our talented team there."

Jobs Minister, Heather Humphreys, said that the Government had done everything it could to keep the data centre project on track, but that unfortunately Apple had decided to move on.

"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."

She said Government interventions to retain the project 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 said the delays underlined the 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."

Fianna Fáil Galway TD, Anne Rabbitte, blamed Fine Gael for the lost opportunity for the West.

“This decision is a significant loss to the West of Ireland and sends the wrong message to potential investors across the globe.

“The protracted delays in reaching a planning decision, followed by a long drawn out court process appears to have been the decisive factor in Apple withdrawing from this development”, Rabbitte said.

“Those jobs and investment will now go elsewhere.

“Just as worrying is that other companies will look at this experience and could potentially re-evaluate spending money here.

“For places like the West of Ireland, which struggles to get substantial Foreign Direct Investment, this is particularly important to address.

“In October 2017 I published a Bill to fast track such planning decisions but we are still waiting on the government to come forward with amendments to the planning act.

“Ireland needs to send out a clear message to foreign direct investors that we are open for business. Planning laws must not deter potential investors from Irish shores.

“The government has to step up to the mark and ensure that we do not lose another opportunity like this on its watch again.

“There is a 97 acre site now lying idle in Athenry – measures must be undertaken to ensure that this site is put on the IDA priority list.”

The €850m project would have provided 300 construction jobs and 100 full time jobs when it became operational.

Source: https://www.irishmirror.ie

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