The Supreme Court is coming to Galway to hear Apple Athenry case

Galway Daily news Apple granted extension of permission for Athenry data centre

The Supreme Court will travel to Galway to hear the main body of the appeal in the ongoing Apple Athenry saga.

An appeal against planning permission granted for Phase 1 of an Apple data centre in Athenry claims that An Bord Pleanála breached its legal obligations in granting approval.

Apple withdrew from the appeal brought by objectors Sinead Fitzpatrick and Allan Daly against the High Court’s refusal to hear their case, but the state is still contesting it.

The Irish Times reports that at a hearing on Wednesday, Chief Justice Frank Clark laid out the exact issues to be addressed in the appeal on behalf of the five judge panel.

Though the Supreme Court normally sits in the Four Courts, when it next hears the appeal against the planning approval in March it will be at a sitting in Galway.

This will be one of a programme of SC sittings taking place outside of Dublin, with the Chief justice noting there is a link between this appeal and Galway.

Before this first came to the Supreme Court Apple announced that they were abandoning plans for the €850 million data centre which had been in a limbo of judicial review for years.

An Bord Pleanála gave Apple approval to construct one data hall of the centre in August 2016, the first of a masterplan involving 8 data halls.

The heart of the objection brought against this decision is that since the plan was always for eight halls, with more applications to follow, the board should have had to assess the environmental impact of the entire masterplan.

When hearing this appeal the Supreme Court will first have to consider exactly what the board’s obligations were, and then decide if it breached them.

Though for now Justice Clark has said there is no matter of EU law to consider, when they hear the case in March it may still have to be referred to the European Court of Justice.