back to article Judge: You're getting an Apple data centre and you're going to like it

The Irish High Court has rejected a further appeal in the long-running battle against Apple's plans to build a data centre on the Emerald Isle. The saga has been running for more than two years, since Apple announced plans to build an €850m data centre near Athenry, County Galway, Ireland, back in February 2015. Cupertino was …

  1. wolfetone Silver badge

    Old Irish proverb:

    "If someone is benefitting from a brown envelope or two, no one gives a shit about a badger."

    Hows that tax bill coming along by the way?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Or the American version...

      Badgers don't vote!

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Or the American version...

        Yes, but the badger issue is very plainly black & white; though it looks now like it will still be a close shave for Apple.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Badger-Bashing Bitbarn Ban Bodged!!

    Another great subtitle that will never be. (sigh)

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. quxinot

      Re: Badger-Bashing Bitbarn Ban Bodged!!

      I just was waiting for the inevitable link.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bloody NIMBY's. Shoot them all.

    1. Natalie Gritpants

      Not in my badgers yard?

      1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

        The badgers are sett against it.

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Sometimes so-called NIMBYs do have a point and their objections aren't purely selfish.

      It's easy to throw the accusation and believe they are, and perhaps particularly so when reports on the verdict appears to show they never had a leg to stand on, had no legitimate grounds for complaint to start with.

      But the fact it went so far through the court system suggests that's not the full picture; lower courts recognised there was a case argued well enough to grant a right of appeal.

      1. colinb

        This wasn't Nimbyism,the vast majority of people living near it, want it.

        Athenry does not have a single major employer, it has a history of scraping a living on the land or emigrating, why wouldn't the people in Athenry be sick of no job prospects for young people who for any chance of a high tech job might at best commute into Galway at worst move away from their families to Dublin or further.

        The objector is an 'environmental engineer' who works for a Scaramento based company

        You can always predict what line an environmentalist would take and it always involves either people being happy with their lot or getting poorer, while they themselves have a job of course.

        Yes electrical load is an issue but Eirgrid is well aware of what is needed for future load as datacenters are predicted to be 30% of overall Grid load by 2030. Thanks to some of the highest energy prices in Europe the ESB are pretty loaded.

        1. Uberseehandel

          And how many jobs will this data centre create, once it has moved into production?

          1. colinb

            Well, compared to what? and why discount the build phase, there are multiple phases over multiple years, with construction workers that need food, drink and petrol and could well be local, Arup in Cork are doing the build.

            So its more than 0 (actually 300 construction and 150 permanent, Athenry pop ~4000). No one is saying these are all or even any local people only it creates opportunities there were not there before.

            Maybe you're implying it should not happen because 1000s are not going to be employed. Factories that employ 1,000's of people sticking electronics into cases are not going to happen in Europe for obvious reasons.

        2. TRT Silver badge

          Cooling's easy though. Bloody cold miserable damp place it is.

        3. Slx

          It's 25km from Galway City and on the M6 Dublin - Galway motorway

          I don't mean to be facetious and I'm delighted to see that there's investment in Athenry but I find the tales of misery, loss and emigration over a short commute slightly ridiculous.

          Athenry us about 25 mins from Galway City and connected via a top notch, lightly trafficked motorway that links Galway to Dublin. Galway is pretty small but has a decent unoversity, a cluster of tech companies and a really nice cultural life and brilliant bars, restaurants and some of the best scenery in the world near by.

          Commuting a few mins on that route, through beautiful scenery is an absolute pleasure compared to what many commuters endure daily.

          Also it's only a couple of hours and a bit drive to Dublin too. You're hardly exiled to far flung part of outer Siberia by having to work in any of Ireland's cities.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd be a LOT more intested in this story.....

    ......if it was about Beavers.

  5. Swarthy


    I would have thought that they'd be more concerned with Trevelyan's corn?

  6. Neal McQ

    It's worth adding that the final appeal turned into a farce after the one of the appeals turned out to:

    a) not be living in the same county (the proposed data centre is south-west Ireland), and living on the east coast of Ireland

    b) trying to 'motivate' Apple to build on the easy coast - on land they owned that had planning permission for a data centre.......

    Note that Apple interestingly wasn't interested based on proximity to Nuclear power plant in UK......

    Full thread from Irish reporter here:

    And full judge report here:

  7. renniks

    On the objector Brian McDonagh, it appears he objected due to a case of sour grapes:

    "The third High Court objector came from left field.

    Brian McDonagh is one of three brothers who, in 2007, paid €22 million for land in Wicklow, funded by Ulster Bank. They applied for permission for “the world’s largest data centre”, using a company, Ecologic Data Centres.

    A planning battle ensued that went all the way to the Supreme Court in 2013, where the McDonaghs defeated An Bórd Pleanála, which had refused permission. Some of the Apple objectors have pointed to the Wicklow site as a possible viable alternative.

    McDonagh does not appear on the list of original objectors in Athenry. There is one objection recorded, however, from a Dr Yeok See Ooi, who gave an address in Ballymount, Dublin. Dr Ooi gave no reasons for the objection.

    Companies office records show McDonagh has operated businesses from an address close to the one given by Dr Ooi. A trawl of High Court documents reveals Dr Ooi was, in fact, McDonagh’s girlfriend. She is an ophthalmologist based in Wicklow, and appears to share his Delgany home.

    A woman who answered the phone at McDonagh’s Delgany address, which was on the market in 2004 for €5.5 million, said she would pass a message to him from The Irish Times. There has been no response to several further phone calls."


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not really sour grapes, just plain self interest. Long story short, idiot property developer pays over the odds pre-crash for some land on the *other side* of the country in one of the most expensive counties, doesn't get his dream data center so throws his toys out of the pram (rather gets his girlfriend to do it in some half arsed attempt to cover his tracks) in the deluded notion that if the Fruity Folk can't build in the wesht, they might come running to his open arms (I suppose Wicklow is called the "garden county")

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    badger background

    gives a little bit of background as to why there is more than badgers at play here.

  9. StuntMisanthrope

    Gentlemans Measure

    We'll have one in the North East, sea's freezing. #makemineadouble #onthehouse

  10. The Nazz

    Remake of a popular, and charming, Irish tune

    The ex-Fields of Athenry

    Maybe a charity single, in aid of homeless badgers, by the likes of Foster & Allen, The Fureys, Bono's lot, the appropriately named Corrs, Dana,***** and others?

    ***** insert your favourite band/act here.

    1. Gordon 10

      Re: Remake of a popular, and charming, Irish tune

      The Dublliners?

      Low lie the Fields of Athenry

      Where once we watched the small free birds fly. (let the free birds fly)

      Our love was on the wing we had dreams and songs to sing

      It's so lonely 'round the Fields of Athenry

      Until apple came along then they were chokka

    2. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Remake of a popular, and charming, Irish tune

      When Irish i-things are smiling?

  11. Snorlax Silver badge

    Separation of powers?

    No surprise that the court found in favor of Apple, is it?

    The country’s run by a morally bankrupt government, more concerned with collecting multinational tax-dodgers like Apple, Amazon and Google than improving the lives of its citizens.

    For fucks sake, Apple owes the country €13billion yet the government doesn’t want it?

    Who in their right mind turns down €13billion?

    1. SpammFreeEmail

      Re: Separation of powers?

      ---> "....For fucks sake, Apple owes the country €13billion yet the government doesn’t want it?

      Who in their right mind turns down €13billion?..."

      Someone who knows they're going to get it anyway but doesn't want to look greedy and piss off the people giving it?

      1. Slx

        Re: Separation of powers?

        The reason they're not accepting the €13 billion is they do not believe it is owed and they are standing over their taxation system as not having made a corrupt little deal with Apple.

        If the Irish Government just accepted the ruling it would also be accepting that its taxation system was doing secret deals with multinationals. It is defending the integrity of its own decisions and also the position of its tax policies and its independence to make tax decisions.

        You can argue the morals and the rights and wrongs of how much tax Apple paid in Ireland, but the Irish argument is basically that the tax was not due in Ireland and that the country is not obliged to collect tax on behalf of other countries.

        There's also a huge argument about where profits are recognised. Given that Apple generates most of its IP in California and builds most of its products in China, one could argue that (other than R&D activity) their European operations are a 'cost of sales' retail and support overhead and they have actually made very little profit in Europe, just generated a lot of sales.

        There are also concerns about the EU using a body of competition law to expand its role into taxation policies, which it has no legal rights to do under the current treaties.

        The US has also weighed on this and on Ireland's side because it's seen as an EU attempt to gouge a US company's revenues in Europe when those should be being taxed in the USA.

        Effectively Ireland's caught (albeit quite happily for now) in the middle of a tax problem that is being created by incoherence and inconsistencies in international taxation policy.

        The risk of some of these EU rulings is a retreat of business back into the US and elsewhere. So goods and services would just be directly exported and European operations would be a hell fo a lot smaller.

        If the EU wants to fix these problems, it needs to do so with progressive reform of international tax treaties, not by innovating competition law and going after smaller member states. It's really quite a kick in the teeth for Ireland, particularly after the way the ECB and Commission handled the banking fiasco by forcing the state into position where it couldn't write down bank debts and had to go into a 'programme'. Even the usually much maligned IMF seemed to think the EU and ECB were behaving very oddly.

        1. Snorlax Silver badge

          Re: Separation of powers?

          @Slx:"The reason they're not accepting the €13 billion is they do not believe it is owed and they are standing over their taxation system as not having made a corrupt little deal with Apple."

          lol really. You believe that?

          The reason the Irish government doesn't want the money is that they don't want to piss off Apple.

          Apple decided that its shell companies (Apple Operations Europe) and ASI (Apple Sales International) are stateless and don't need to pay tax in Ireland; successive governments since the 80's have let this slide because jobs... Apple's effective tax rate in Ireland in 2014 was 0.005%

          If that's not evidence of a corrupt little deal, I don't know what is.

    2. Slx

      Re: Separation of powers?

      On come on! The opposite is actually true.

      The planning permission went through umpteen layers of appeals and the project was delayed for over two years and did huge damage to the prospects of the project even going ahead and may undermine Ireland's ability to even bid for data centre projects in future.

      This centre's sister site in Denmark is pretty much ready to roll at this stage and the two started their planning process at the same time.

      Ireland is the polar opposite to being rolled over by central government or politics. It was a case where a massive project was held up by two individuals and that is not unusual, given how the planning system works in the state.

      If the state were trying to impress Apple, it certainly wouldn't have put their data centre through the planning permission mangle and delayed it to the point that it was nearly risking its viability.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Separation of powers?

        The Danish one was built really quickly though, due to the use of a local type of construction brick.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Separation of powers?

          Child labour again?

        2. Ivan Headache

          Re: Separation of powers?

          What's he betting it will be


  12. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

    Collective noun...

    Do eight Apple data halls on one single site an orchard make?

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