Fine Gael Minister Ciaran Cannon has confirmed today that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar met with Apple executives last week and that Apple remains committed to its €850m data centre investment in Athenry.
The confirmation of an ongoing commitment by Apple will bring reassurance to those who are deeply concerned about the delay in the commencement of construction on the site.
The delay has arisen because of an ongoing legal case taken by three objectors to the development.
An Taoiseach has also confirmed to Minister Cannon that the government is examining potential changes to the Strategic Infrastructure Act to ensure that our planning and legal system works more efficiently when dealing with applications of this nature.
“I have been in regular contact with An Taoiseach on this issue as it is one of great concern to the people of Athenry and indeed, Co. Galway.
“I’m pleased that An Taoiseach has also maintained contact with senior executives in Apple and that, as late as last week, they have confirmed their continued commitment to investing in Athenry”, said Minister Cannon.
“This morning An Taoiseach has also confirmed to me that he has requested an examination of our planning and legal systems as they apply to large developments of this nature.
“The last thing we need in Ireland is a perception to develop internationally that our systems are incapable of dealing with large industrial developments and that delays of two or three years are commonplace.
“I’m of the belief that we can have the requisite robust and forensic analysis of such planning applications but that this analysis can, and should, happen in a much shorter timeframe.
“An Taoiseach agrees with me and also suggests that we need to maximise the use of renewable energy when developing new data centres.
“For now I’m reassured by An Taoiseach of Apple‘s continued commitment to Athenry”, concluded Minister Cannon.