New Apple centre will not hit water supply, hearing told

An Bord Pleanála hears submissions on tech giant’s planned facility near Athenry

Computer giant Apple's plans to build a €1 billion data centre outside Athenry, Co Galway, will not affect local water supplies, a consultant hydrologist has told an An Bord Pleanála planning appeal.

The hydrologist, Catherine Buckley, said: "There will be no net change in the volume of water leaving the site, so local private supplies will not be affected."

In his statement to the hearing, ecologist Ger O'Donohoe, of the Moore Group, said measures have been taken to ensure that local wildlife is not negatively affected by the centre.

He said an outer perimeter of mixed woodland at the site will support the local bat population, while its lighting will be directed inwards so it will not disturb nocturnal creatures.


Responding to submissions on the impact of the development on local badgers, Mr O’Donohoe said there are no badger setts on Apple’s proposed site, and any badgers in the general area will not be disturbed due to the presence of the 50m-wide woodland “buffer zone”.

The planning appeal was told that the multinational is in discussions about improving public transport links to the site, including plans for a pedestrian/cycling path and a shuttle bus from Athenry train station.

Everything possible would be done to cut down single-occupancy car journeys to the plants, said civil engineer Niall Harte of Arup, on behalf of Apple.


However, Lisheenkyle resident Eddie Stoker objected to the proposed development, saying he had moved there from Co Cork 15 years ago and had chosen to build his home there based on the natural beauty and quietness of the area.

Mr Stoker said: “I’m concerned that maybe this is the tip of the iceberg, and if Apple is allowed to construct, there will be a precedent set and I’ll end up in a heavily industrialised area.”

Fellow Lisheenkyle resident Brian Feeney agreed, saying: 'If it goes ahead, then the freedom my children have known up to now would be lost.'

Meanwhile, Vincent and Maura Kelly, whose land borders the northern perimeter of the Derrydonnell forest, told the appeal Apple's plans would severely impact on their sheep farm and their privacy.