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Apple has hit a snag with its data centre project in Ireland, following complaints by citizens filed with the Irish government. The data centre was meant to store data and power online services such as iTunes Store, App Store, iMessage, Maps and Siri for users across Europe.
Apple filed its planning application in April 2015 and was hoping to start building the data centre costing €850m (£654.7m) by the end of that year. But it now seems to be delayed further as a decision about the matter is expected to come only in the summer.
The Galway County Council had granted Apple permission to build the data centre. But the Irish government has now held up the application and is currently reviewing appeals.
As soon as Apple made its plan public, about 20 to 25 complaints were filed at Galway Council by the local residents and other citizens, raising concerns that the data centre would increase noise and light pollution, flooding and traffic. They even cited the impact on badgers and bats to halt the development.
The final decision
Speaking to Business Insider Peter Feeney, a Galway County Councilor said that a number of follow-up complaints were made after Apple received the planning permission. The appeals were made with An Bord Pleanála, which decides on appeals from planning decisions that are made by the local Ireland authorities.
Feeney said, "Often their response is we won't decide on this for another month. And then when that date comes up, they would delay again. They are obliged to respond [to complainants] but not make a decision."
The Galway Council granted permission to Apple in September 2015, after it reviewed the complaints, to build one of the eight 263,000 sq ft data halls. Apple will have to seek planning permission each time it wants to build a hall and would take Apple at least 15 years to complete the development.
The committee has asked Apple for additional information on the data centre. Feeney believes the final decision from An Bord Pleanála is unlikely to come before June 2016, although Apple was expecting a decision earlier than this.
Apple had been expecting that the operations at the data centre would kick off some time in 2017, but due to the complaints, the project would be delayed to a later date.
Data centre to create jobs
Powered by renewable energy, the data centre would be built on recovered land that was used for growing non-native trees previously. However, Apple said it would restore the native trees to Derrydonnell Forest if it gets permission to build the data centre.
Apple had also promised to create an outdoor education space for local school and walking trails for the community as part of its development. The data centre could create up to 300 jobs starting from construction workers to IT professionals.
Rival data centre in Ireland
Other tech majors such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon already have their data centres in Ireland. Meanwhile, Facebook has already planned one in the country. Most of the companies have kept their European headquarters in Ireland due to lower corporation tax than elsewhere in Europe.