Apple gets the green light at last

An artist's impression of the Apple site.

The long-running planning saga over Apple’s proposed €850 million data centre in Athenry looks to be finally over – after the High Court yesterday rejected an appeal from objectors to the scheme.

Reaction from supporters of the project was euphoric, as the decision of Mr Justice Paul McDermott now appears to have brought the two-year legal battle to a conclusion.

Several members of the Athenry for Apple campaign group were in court for the judgment.

Mr Justice McDermott rejected an application by local residents Allan Daly and Sinead Fitzpatrick to appeal against an earlier judicial review finding that gave the centre the go ahead.

But amid the euphoria came calls for a change in planning legislation – led by local Minister Ciaran Cannon, who is this week on a trade mission in South Africa. He said that our international reputation cannot be damaged by events of this nature.

“The more immediate concern is moving on from this and begin to create a new future for Athenry and the West of Ireland in general.

“The people of Athenry and Galway will prove that they are fully equal to the challenge of embracing a new industrial dawn and I have every confidence that they will justify the faith that Apple has placed on them”, Minister Cannon added.

Another Galway East TD Sean Canney said that he hopes this is the end of it all. “The objectors have had their say and obviously they had their reasons but let’s move on”, he said.

The Independent TD said that yesterday’s decision would have huge implications for the whole of East Galway in terms of employment and the “knock on” effects by declaring that the region is open for business.

“Hopefully the objectors will not carry this any further. Yesterday’s decision has huge implications for the whole of the county in that we are now welcoming a major industry to rural Galway and it shows that not everything has to be located in the city”, Deputy Canney added.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.