Athenry bites back

Mollie Spellman (12) from Athenry during the rally in support of Apple’s Athenry data centre plans in the town on Sunday. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.
Mollie Spellman (12) from Athenry during the rally in support of Apple’s Athenry data centre plans in the town on Sunday. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Athenry is biting back – to ensure it gets a piece of Apple. Around 300 people took to the streets of the town on Sunday in a show of support for the multinational’s plans for an €850 million data centre.

Apple was granted planning permission for project in 2015 but it has been delayed by legal challenges.

The commercial court is expected to rule today (Thursday) on whether the data centre can proceed.

Galway County Council and An Bórd Pleanála gave the green light for project, which would be the biggest inward investment west of the Shannon in the history of the State. Those decisions were challenged through the courts.

On Sunday, the Athenry for Apple group organised a march to highlight that the majority of people in the town are in favour of it going ahead.

It was described as ‘low-key’ compared to earlier on this year when 800-plus people were involved in a similar solidarity march.

The proposed centre at Derrydonnell covers more than 24,000 square metres. Around 300 construction jobs would be created during the building phase and up to 150 on an ongoing basis.

Athenry is hopeful of a positive decision.

“Next February it’ll be three years since it was granted planning permission and it has been dogged by delays through the courts since,” said Galway County Councillor Peter Feeney (FG).

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.