Calls for planning reform as cloud hangs over Apple

A Galway East TD says the threat of Apple pulling the plug on its proposed data centre in Athenry shows the clear need for immediate planning reform.

Fears are being expressed for the future of the 850 million euro project amid reports that CEO Tim Cook told Leo Varadkar the Athenry centre is no longer a priority.

Mr Varadkar said he had not been “given a start date . . . no definite commitment or anything like that”.

It’s after the High Court this week cleared the way for the centre to go-ahead after legal efforts to block it on environmental grounds were dismissed.

Plans for a similar plant in Denmark were announced alongside the Athenry project in 2015 – with the Danish centre now preparing to go live.

Galway East Fianna Fáil TD Anne Rabbitte said it proves the need for immediate changes to our planning laws.

Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty said if the reports are true, the Government must get the centre back on track.