Apple pulls plug on plans for Athenry data center

“Apple has announced that it is not going to proceed with its planned data centre in Athenry, Co Galway,” Will Goodbody reports for RTÉ. “In a statement, the company said despite its best efforts, delays in the planning approval process had forced it to make other plans.”

“The decision, while not entirely unexpected, will come as a bitter blow to supporters of the project in the Galway town and the wider economy,” Goodbody reports. “The project has been bogged down in planning delays since it was first announced more than three years ago.”

“The appeal taken by two Athenry residents’ over aspects of An Bord Pleanála’s planning permission for provisions for the data centre has not been withdrawn,” Goodbody reports. “Chief Justice Clarke said the commercial urgency has disappeared but others might still like to use the planning permission, so he adjourned the matter until 31 May.”

“The two locals who brought the case, Sinead Fitzpatrick and Alan Daly, were in the Supreme Court for the hearing,” Goodbody reports. “Afterwards they declined to be interviewed saying they need to consider the impact of Apple’s decision.”

“Meanwhile, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys has said the State’s planning and legal processes need to be more efficient,” Goodbody reports. “‘We did everything we could to support this investment but Apple have ultimately taken a commercial decision not to proceed, but they have made it clear the delays the project experienced have caused them to re-consider it,’ said Ms Humphreys.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote last December:

The whims of the few outweigh the needs of the many.

Thankfully, due to this debacle, future applicants like Apple will have the ability to get permission and move forward expeditiously.

Athenry objectors to Apple data center apply to Ireland’s Supreme Court – December 5, 2017
$1 billion Apple dream fades for Irish villagers – November 9, 2017
Irish PM says future of $1 billion Apple data center uncertain – November 4, 2017
After years of delays, Apple finally gets the green light to build its $1 billion data center in Ireland – October 12, 2017
Apple to build second renewables-powered data center in Denmark – July 10, 2017
Apple’s $1 billion data center in Ireland faces High Court appeal as locals plan march in support – November 4, 2016
Apple’s €850m data center in Ireland finally gets green light – August 12, 2016
Apple’s huge data center in Ireland hits a snag – February 3, 2016
Some residents object to Apple’s planned new €850 million data center in Ireland – June 18, 2015
Apple’s strong commitment to the environment sets a powerful example for other companies – May 15, 2015
Apple to invest €1.7 billion to build two new european data centers – February 23, 2015


  1. its foolishness like this by govt and civil servants as to why jobs go overseas to places like India. These excuses by the officials that they tried everything is not good enough, they did not try hard enough, and now they lost a source of revenue from one of the best companies in the world.

  2. Ireland’s loss will be somewhere else’s gain. I assume that Apple’s second data centre in Denmark is being built instead of this one in Athenry.

    Jutland has abundant sources of green energy and the waste heat from Apple’s servers will be used for heating in nearby houses. Athenry too has green energy sources, which was a factor attracting Apple to that area, but the appeals against the planning permission have dragged on for three years now.

    There is a recognition within Ireland that their planning laws need to be updated and the Ireland government are slowly doing so, but this decision must be regarded as a wake up call for them to get the problem urgently resolved. Ireland is very keen to attract inward investment and desperately needs foreign investment, but if after three years no permission has been finalised because of ongoing appeals by protest groups, then it’s easy to understand why Apple has pulled the plug. Apple’s data centre was going to be the biggest private investment in western Ireland and now they’ve thrown it away.

    1. Unfortunately for the Mac Pro, management personnel in that division did not correctly fill out their planning documents for the new desktop workstation and were required to revisit the licensing department, taking into consideration the new wiring requirements for all devices that may be housed above and below table top height.

      Once regulations have been met, plans for the new Mac Pro should be able to work their way through upper management for further review and approval before final review by the Marketing Department.

    1. It’s one of two European data centres for Apple, there’s a pretty good reason why European data centres are built in Europe rather than in America. Apple already has at least four American ones, with others planned.

  3. Apple pulled the plug on the data center after 3 years which is premature. The MacPro was updated four years and four months ago which is too long.

    This means that the data center architecture did not have the new MacPro design.

  4. If Apple had been requesting Fracking permits, delay and denial are fine with me.

    But a data center? That’s somehow offensive and damaging to anything? Add to that the fact that Apple would obviously power it with solar.

    Bye-bye to that local investment.

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