Apple will now have to wait until the end of July to discover if it has the green light to proceed with its €850m datacentre build in Athenry, County Galway.
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A decision on the build was deferred by the commercial court in Ireland on Friday 30 June, much to the dismay of local Athenry residents who are keen for the consumer electronics giant to set up a server farm in the area.
Computer Weekly understands the judge has five options to choose from, when it comes to setting out how the build should proceed, with the community hoping the judge will award Apple outright approval for the plans, with no option for further court objections to be raised.
The remaining options could see the court reject Apple’s plans outright or conditionally approve them, or even refer the case back to Irish planning officials or regulators for further review.
If anything other than outright approval is given for the plans, residents fear Apple may choose to cut its losses and shelve the project altogether, despite investing millions of pounds to date in land costs alone.
The project has been beset by numerous delays since Apple first secured conditional planning permission for the build in September 2015, and local residents have become increasingly concerned the delays may cause Apple to pull the plug on the project altogether.
The plans are on hold at the moment, after several objectors enforced their right to seek a judicial review into the plans, after the Irish planning body, An Bord Pleanála, rejected a previous bid to block the build.
Furthermore, the 30 June hearing was initially supposed to take place on Friday 23 June, but – as reported by Computer Weekly at the time – a shortage of judges resulted in it being postponed.
Members of the Apple for Athenry Facebook page, who are leading local campaign efforts to get the project off the ground, have greeted the latest delay by floating plans to stage a demonstration in the town.
If the plan goes ahead, this will be the second demonstration of this kind the group has organised in support of Apple’s plans, which it claims will have a beneficial impact on the local economy.