A former councillor who supported Apple’s bid to build a $960 million data center in Athenry, Ireland, confirms that he was sent frightening threats about Apple’s decision to cancel the project.
Apple officially ditched its plans for a giant data center in County Galway last year. However, the threatening letters — sent to a number of politicians — demand that the data center is approved.
The disconcerting message read as follows:
“This is a message to you. The people of Athenry have waited long enough for Apple. They might have endless patience but I don’t. Get Apple here by Christmas, or things will happen to you, and your families. You might think that this is an idle threat but can you risk it? Remember. You don’t know me when we might pass on the street, but I will know you, and I will find out who your families are. Anonymous.”
Speaking to the Irish Independent newspaper, former Sinn Féin councillor Gabriel Cronnelly confirmed he was sent the letter. “I got one all right,” he said. “I was disgusted to tell you the truth. It’s one thing to get a bit of stick but when your family is implicated.”
At least three other politicians received similar notes. The case is currently being investigated. “I won’t be intimidated or forced into lobbying under threat,” Cronnelly said.
Threats over Apple data center
Apple’s proposed Irish data center would have been the biggest in Europe. Had it gone ahead, it would have created 300 temporary construction jobs and 50 permanent technical positions. It was intended to help power Apple Music, the App Store, Messages, Maps, and Siri.
However, right from the start there were objections raised. These included criticisms such as the amount of power the data center would require. There was also concern over the potential impact on local bats and badgers, protected species that live in the nearby forest.
Apple eventually threw in the towel. “Several years ago we applied to build a data centre at Athenry,” it said in a 2018 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.” Apple said that the decision would not affect its, “enthusiasm for future projects in Ireland.”