Objectors may appeal against Apple's Irish data centre

Apple may proceed to build a Euro 850 million ($1 billion) data centre in Ireland, the High Court ruled on Thursday, bringing relief for the government after a two-year planning delay which it feared could hurt its reputation with investors.

Though Apple gained permission to build from the local council six months after announcing plans, a series of appeals kept the tech giant from moving forward for about two years. Soon after, however, critics denounced the plans, citing potential environmental issues, among other concerns.

If the plan moves ahead, Apple will set up a data centre capable of harnessing significant green energy from its surrounding environment.

High Court judge Paul McDermott dismissed the appeals brought by three campaigners, who were concerned about the environmental impact of the project, which is to occupy almost 166,000 square meters in County Galway, west Ireland.

The Commercial Court has paved the way for work to begin on Apple's €850m data centre in Athenry, Co Galway.

It has said it will be one of the biggest capital investment projects in the west of Ireland, providing 300 construction jobs and 150 on-site permanent jobs.

London is also set to become home to a new data centre, with Virtus poised to construct a centre on a massive eight acre plot of land, consisting of two separate campuses named LONDON5 and LONDON6.

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. The government says it is considering amending planning laws to include data centers as strategic infrastructure allow them to get through the planning process faster.

Vanessa Coleman