Residents living next to Apple’s huge European headquarters in Cork have called for compensation following months of disruption caused by construction on its sprawling campus.
They staged a protest at the tech giant’s facility on Cork’s northside yesterday and said the company must do more to address their concerns over dust, noise, and alleged structural damage to some of the homes in their Hollyhill estate.
“We have been putting up with this disruption for almost 18 months but the last 12 months have been horrendous,” said Jackie McKeon, spokesperson for the Ardcullen estate.
She said construction noise is almost constant, that dust has destroyed carpets and curtains in some homes, that cracks have appeared in some walls, and plaster has fallen from ceilings.
“We understand that Apple is a huge employer and we don’t want to stop the expansion or the creation of additional employment,” she said.
“We have met Apple on numerous occasions about our concerns. They have engaged with us, to be fair, and they have offered to paint the outside of our houses.
“But we don’t think it’s enough, and we don’t think our concerns are being heard.
“We need a compensation package, and we just want to be heard today.”
Ardcullen residents protesting at Apple, Cork, today over the noise, dust and intrusive lights from the tech giants' construction site. pic.twitter.com/wmCtFkylQo— Mick Barry TD (@MickBarryTD) September 11, 2017
Apple was contacted for comment but did not respond in time.
The company was granted planning permission last year for a significant expansion of its Hollyhill campus, which will create up to an additional 1,000 jobs once fully operational.
The company, which has been based in Cork since 1980 and currently employs more than 5,000 people in Ireland, is building a new four-storey office block on the western fringes of its campus, adjoining Ardcullen estate.
It is also providing an additional 750-plus parking spaces.
Local residents had objected to An Bord Pleanála but it upheld the city council’s planning decision and sanctioned the project.
Ms McKeon said construction noise is almost constant but intensified in recent months during a lengthy drilling contract.
“My daughter was studying for exams in UCC and had to leave the house to study elsewhere,” she said.
“It was constant drilling, all day every day. We could feel the vibrations in our houses.
“Dust is another huge problem. It covers our cars and gets inside our houses. People have had to replace carpets and curtains.”
Apple engaged contractors to clean the windows of some of the adjoining homes and it has offered to paint the outside of the homes when the project is finished.
However, Ms McKeon said residents do not think this is good enough.
“We do understand that this will stop eventually, but as of now, we have to endure this situation,” she said. “We have been very patient, and at the start of this process, it was never about compensation. But we never realised the disruption it would cause.
“We have put up with it for months without voicing our concerns publicly, but we’ve had enough of it now.”
Apple is the largest private employer in Cork, with over €100m invested in the city since 2009 and a further 2,500 jobs supported locally.
Its Irish operations include sales support; distribution; technology support; customer care; mapping and manufacturing.
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