Apple Shelves $1 Billion Irish Project Amid Planning Problems

(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. is pulling out of a plan to build $1 billion data center in the west of Ireland amid difficulties with the planning system.

The plan to build the facility in a Galway forest, due to cover 166,000 square meters, the equivalent to about 23 soccer fields, close to the Atlantic coast was announced in 2015 and had been expected to be completed in 2017. Instead, Apple was hampered by delays in the planning and legal system

Last year, Bloomberg News first reported that the project to build eight data halls was in jeopardy.

“Despite our best efforts, delays in the approval process have forced us to make other plans,” Apple said in a statement in Dublin on Thursday, adding the development was “disappointing.”

Advocates of the Apple project say the delays illustrated a deeper issue: the difficulty executing large infrastructure developments in Ireland compared with other countries. Apple completed a similar project in Denmark that Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook announced simultaneously as part of its biggest-ever investment in Europe, and said in July it plans a second data center in the Scandinavian country.

In Ireland, the forestry site remains largely untouched, as the project became bogged down in the planning process, with objectors contesting its potential environmental impact and economic benefits.

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