Skip to main content

Banning data centres is head in the clouds stuff from Opposition – O’Dowd

29th September 2021 - Fergus O'Dowd TD

The proposal by Opposition parties to stop building data centres is non sensical, out of touch and hypocritical, Fine Gael Fergus O’Dowd has said.

Opposing a motion before the Dáil today, Fine Gael Louth TD, Fergus O’Dowd said the proposal by the Social Democrats and supported by Sinn Féin and others was a complete waste of time and proves their heads are in the clouds.

“The proposed moratorium on new data centres developments across the country is like picking individual grains of sand up to try and combat the tide. To combat climate change we need to be online more, operate in a more digital manner, ensure there is less driving and less emissions. What allows this? Data centres,” Deputy O’Dowd said.

A data centre can be a single server or complex with hundreds of servers on racks. Tech companies which offer public cloud computing services have data centres that they make available to other organisations.

“Virtually everything people do in their daily lives has a basis in cloud computing: if you watch Netflix, pay by card, use virtually any app on your phone: it’s all cloud based.

“Do any of those who supported today’s motion use debit/credit cards? Our banking facilities don’t use steam power, they are facilitated by data centres to process high volume transactions.

“The backup systems for your phone and computer live in the cloud. Our world and economy functions on the cloud. The Social Democrats hypocritical attitude to cloud storage is a lot like their hypocritical attitude to housing: ‘build it somewhere else please’.

“Even today, they share content from today’s Dáil debate online on social media sites which are processed by cloud-based servers.

“Most Soc Dem representatives use social media sites which are streamed from clouds or data centres. None of these accounts are powered by their own abundant self-righteousness,” Deputy O’Dowd said.

“Data centres enable investment, employment, remote working and allow people the possibility to live and work in the communities where they were raised.

“Amazon Web Services (AWS) in Drogheda are a major employer. They are also innovating to preserve water and reduce energy usage in its data centres worldwide, including in Ireland.

“To reduce both energy and water use in its data centres, the company uses direct evaporative cooling systems, which predominately utilise outside air to cool servers. This means that for more than 95% of the year, AWS uses no water to cool its data centres in Ireland.

“The motion today is a slight against the country, our futures and the public that those who supported it purport to represent,” Deputy O’Dowd said.

Stay Up To Date With Fine Gael