People in a small town in Ireland are planning a march this weekend to show that they support Apple’s plans to build a data centre in their area.
Apple is trying to build an €850 million (£756 million) server farm in a forest just outside Athenry, County Galway.
However, a small handful of locals have been doing their best to derail the project in recent months, filing complaints with the Galway County Council, local planning body An Bord Pleanála, and now the High Court.
In a bid to show that the wider Athenry community is in support of Apple’s plans, local residents are planning a march through the town centre this Sunday. Many of them are deeply upset that Apple’s data centre is facing ongoing delays and some of them are concerned that Apple will abandon its plans altogether if it’s held up much longer.
The march will take place the day before Apple seeks High Court approval to fast-track a judicial review over planning approval for the data centre.
A Facebook event created by a man named Dale Pinto indicates that the march will begin at 11:45am. The event description reads:
“We want to show Apple, and the whole world, that the vast majority of Athenry people support wholeheartedly Apple’s desire to open a data centre near our town PLEASE ATTEND THIS EVENT, AND MAKE EVERYONE YOU KNOW AWARE OF IT. This is a marvellous opportunity for Athenry, and the West Of Ireland. Please do not let this opportunity slip through our fingers. PLEASE DO NOT UPSET THE APPLECART”
Apple’s west Ireland data centre is facing an 18 month delay after three Irish residents – Allan Daly, Sinead Fitzpatrick, and Brian McDonagh – appealed against a local planning body giving the development the green light in August.
Apple has asked the High Court to fast-track the legal challenge brought about by the three individuals. It specifically wants to put the dispute on a “commercial list,” which is a dedicated court division designed to deal with legal disputes that have more than €1 million (£900,000) at stake.
The High Court will consider the motion on November 7. If it agrees, then the dispute will likely be settled within six months.
Apple wants to build eight data halls on a 500-acre site in Derrydonnell Forest, which is owned by state-sponsored forestry firm Coillte, and situated roughly three miles from Athenry.
Apple first announced the data centre in February 2015, saying at the time that it will build a similar facility in Denmark, which is already well underway.
Apple wants to use the data centres to store European user data and to help power online services, including the iTunes Store, the App Store, iMessage, Maps, and Siri for customers across Europe, according to a press release.
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