Court to fast-track Apple data centre challenge

A legal challenge to a planned Apple data centre in Galway is to be fast-tracked by the big business division of the High Court.

Athenry residents Sinead Fitzpatrick and Allan Daly have brought the case over An Bord Pleanála’s decision last August to grant permission for the hi-tech data centre, one of eight such proposed developments at lands at Toberroe, Palmerstown, Derrydonnell, and Athenry.

They want the board’s decision to give the centre the green light quashed. The cost of the overall proposed plan is €850m.

Ms Fitzpatrick and Mr Daly, of Lisheenkyle, Athenry, claim the permission is invalid on grounds including the board failed to carry out a proper environmental impact assessment of the proposed development. 

Ms Fitzpatrick said she and her neighbours are concerned about the development, particularly regarding the energy demand it would create.

Yesterday in the Commercial Court, lawyers for Apple Distribution International, the entity seeking to develop the data centre, which is a notice party to the action, applied to have the case admitted to the fast-track commercial court list.

In a sworn statement seeking transfer to the list, Catherine Kearney, a director of Apple Distribution International and vice-president of operations for Europe, India, Africa, and the Middle East, said the company wants the action heard “as expeditiously as possible”.

The proposed centres are “critical pieces of infrastructure required to support the worldwide demand for global storage necessary to cater for the rapid expansion in wireless electronic communication, entertainment and work”, she said.

The case was admitted to the list by Mr Justice Brian Cregan.


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