Apple decision a blow for the West
Labour representative in Galway West, Cllr Níall McNelis has said that today’s decision by Apple to scrap plans for a data centre in Athenry is a body blow for the west of Ireland.
Cllr McNelis said:
“The decision by Apple today not to proceed with plans for a data centre in Athenry was not unexpected, but is a body blow for the region and county. The West has lost out on an investment that would have provided decent jobs.
“The development also showed the potential for future growth in the IT sector regionally, and brought in the skills and infrastructure that would have been the linchpin for future investment. Instead this will now go elsewhere, with Denmark the big winner.
“The Government needs to prioritise reforms of the planning and appeals system for projects of this size to ensure there isn’t a repeat of this episode. Justice delayed is justice denied.
“For Galway and the West, investments of this scale come along rarely, and unfortunately this will likely be a black mark against us in the future so it is essential that the Government and IDA prioritise future projects, launch a marketing campaign to, and examine if an alternative suitor for the site can be found.
“It is a national embarrassment that a project of this scale and significance couldn’t progress through the planning and legal process quicker. It was first announced in February 2015 and over three years on, the process was still in the courts. Meanwhile the Danish project announced at the same time is expected to open next year and a further investment worth €800 million was announced in Denmark last July.
“Citizens have every right to object to planning developments but the facts remain that this was granted permission by Galway County Council in September 2015 and then approved by An Bord Pleanála in August 2016. Unfortunately it has become bogged down in judicial review, and despite being cleared by the High Court was then brought to the Supreme Court where a hearing was due today.”