As Apple’s Athenry woes continue, Facebook’s Meath site grows

Tech giant’s Clonee data centre will be the size of eight Aviva Stadiums

Facebook broke ground on the Clonee development in April 2016

Facebook broke ground on the Clonee development in April 2016

 

While the saga over Apple’s planned €850 million data centre in Athenry continues, there has been considerably better news from Co Meath of late.

Facebook’s director of datacenter (sic) optimisation Niall McEntegart recently reiterated the company’s commitment to Clonee where it is investing €200 million in a new facility.

In a post published on Facebook (where else?) late last week, McEntegart said the first phase of the development is near completion, with the centre set to open to serve traffic shortly.

The company broke ground on the development in April 2016. Since then, more than 1,500 workers have been on site, logging more than 4.3 million hours to get the site shipshape. Prior to the centre being built, Facebook announced plans to expand it, to include a 28,000sq m building plus administrative space, bringing the size of the facility to 86,000sq m. That is roughly equivalent to the size of eight Aviva Stadiums.

The expansion means that construction will continue way into 2020 at the facility, which is Facebook’s second European data centre – after Lulea in Sweden.

As with its other buildings, the new facility will be powered by 100 per cent clean and renewable energy, something which will be widely welcomed.

In his post, McEntegart is full of praise for the part the local community has played in making the company feel welcome. One wonders whether Apple, which has largely remained silent on its planning problems, would be as quick to offer plaudits.

While most of Athenry has been behind the company’s plan to open a facility, the continued objections by a small number of local residents has turned the whole planning process into something of a nightmare for the tech giant.

Apple got permission for a similar venture in Denmark around the same time as it announced the Athenry facility. It has since completed the development and announced a second data centre in the country. It would cause more than a little surprise if the company were to ever announce another venture here given the difficulties they have faced.

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