Fed up of waiting for the necessary permission to proceed, Apple has ditched its plans to build an 850 million euro ($960 million) data center in Athenry, County Galway in Ireland.
“Several years ago we applied to build a data centre at Athenry,” Apple said in a statement. “Despite our best efforts, delays in the approval process have forced us to make other plans and we will not be able to move forward with the data centre.” It will continue with a second data center in Denmark.
The Irish data center would have been the biggest in Europe, creating 300 temporary construction jobs and 50 permanent technical positions. It was intended to help power Apple Music, the App Store, Messages, Maps, and Siri.
Apple has said that the move will not affect “our enthusiasm for future projects in Ireland.”
Challenges in Ireland
It’s not immediately clear what finally caused Apple to throw in the towel concerning its plans. The project was giving the official go-ahead more than three years ago, but it has been hit with numerous delays — caused by legal issues — since then. These have included criticisms such as the amount of power it will require (supposedly more than the city of Dublin) as well as its potential impact on local bats and badgers, protected species that live in the nearby forest.
However, it seemed like Apple had overcome many of the problems. The data center had achieved overwhelming local support, largely due to the number of jobs it would create. Last November, Ireland’s High Court rejected an appeal against Apple’s plan, although it faced a fresh Supreme Court and European Court appeal.
Apple and Ireland have been allied in their opposition to the European Union, which charged Apple with a $15 billion tax bill after concluding that Ireland had offered it a “sweetheart deal” which saw Apple pay the equivalent of as little as 0.005 percent on all European profits in 2014.
Since Apple first arrived in Ireland in the early 1980s, the number of jobs it has created in the country has risen from 100 to more than 4,000.