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Screw the badgers! Irish High Court dismisses Apple bit barn appeals

€850m data centre given go-ahead after two-year delay

By Andrew Silver, 12 Oct 2017

Ireland's High Court has dismissed planning appeals preventing the construction of Apple's County Galway data centre, Reuters reports.

Cupertino had announced the €850m bit barn in February 2015, alongside plans for one in Denmark. But while the Danish facility is set to open next year, the 500-acre site at Derrydonnell, about 15km east of Galway city, has met continued resistance from community members.

Although Galway County Council approved the project, which would create 150 jobs, in September 2015, locals voiced concerns including potential pollution, high energy consumption and the impact on local bats and badgers.

There was a hearing to discuss the data centre in April 2016. Then Ireland's National Planning Board approved it in August 2016 following a review.

But locals continued. Allan Daly, Sineád Fitzpactrick and Brian McDonagh, who owns land in Wicklow on the east coast, appealed the decisions to the Irish High Court, much to Cupertino's chagrin.

McDonagh's suit was turned down in February. Today, the Irish High Court has ruled to dismiss Daly and Fitzpatrick's arguments.

West Galway council member Peter Feeney, who supports the data centre's construction, told The Register he was "relieved" by the Irish High Court's decision.

The case might not be over, though. He said McDonagh was not given the right to appeal the court's decision, but Daly and Fitzpatrick could. Daly was not available for comment and his wife, Márie, told The Reg he "hasn't decided" if he would appeal yet. We contacted Fitzpatrick for comment. ®

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