back to article Screw the badgers! Irish High Court dismisses Apple bit barn appeals

Ireland's High Court has dismissed planning appeals preventing the construction of Apple's County Galway data centre, Reuters reports. Cupertino had announced the €850m bit barn in February 2015, alongside plans for one in Denmark. But while the Danish facility is set to open next year, the 500-acre site at Derrydonnell, about …

Anonymous Coward

Now there wouldn't be any secret deals going on here, would there?

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If there are, Apple got screwed out of whatever they paid on their end since it is 2 1/2 years and counting since the announcement and they still haven't got final approval!

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Eire likes Apple $$$ and will do anything to keep them sweet !

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Pint

Wink wink

Quote from McDonagh: "Aye, tis fecking shite thar bastard cockwombles!"

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Re: Wink wink

And let me guess, when the data centre is finally built, the admin password will be BadgerBadgerBadger.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIyixC9NsLI

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Stop

Time to brush up on your geography

Brian McDonagh (a landowner in nearby Wicklow)

That's like saying Peterbourough, a town that's near Birmingham.

According to this article from Irish media outlet Fora, it looks like McDonagh had hopes that a data centre would be built on his Wicklow land.

Two locals, Allan Daly and property lawyer Sineád Fitzpactrick, have joined up with Brian McDonagh, a landowner who bought a €22 million site in Wicklow from Ulster Bank in 2007.

McDonagh’s idea was to develop the area into “the world’s largest data centre”. It was not to be and he was denied planning permission.

For that reason, it has been suggested that the site Wicklow would make a more suitable location for Apple’s data centre.

The reader is left to draw their own conclusion.

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Re: Time to brush up on your geography

Maybe Andrew is used to American or Australian scale, Wicklow is on the East coast and Galway/Athenry is on the West coast, around 2 1/2 hours by car, 3 hours by train :-).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Time to brush up on your geography

Thought the same thing. I know everything is "just up the road and around the corner" in Ireland, but this takes the pi$$. Wicklow and Galway are on the opposite ends of the country,

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Re: Time to brush up on your geography

Nah, it's either "a couple of hours" or "a good couple of hours" in my experience of Ireland... Mind my colleagues in Tipperary thought I was mentally unstable for driving "all the way from Belfast" in a oner, no stopping...

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Re: Time to brush up on your geography

Mind my colleagues in Tipperary...

Of course...

It's a long way to Tipperary

it's a long was to go

It's a long way to Tipperary

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Anonymous Coward

Badgers are a pain in the arse (or front valance) and are breeding like rabbits to become more common than the domestic cat. We've tonnes of them where I live and they're a serious road hazard at night and dig up crops.

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Happy

Someone has to say it, for tradition's sake:

"Badgers? We don' need no stinkin' badgers!"

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"Badgers are a pain in the arse ..."

Gives a new meaning to the verb 'to badger'.

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Anonymous Coward

Badgers are a pain in the arse

Move to a city if you don't like the countryside.

It's people like you came up with DEFRA's ineffectual, crap headed badger extermination programme (in response, it must be noted to EU law, but with the enthusiastic support of Farmer Palmer and his ilk).

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Facepalm

Badgers are a pain in the arse

YKINOK

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Anonymous Coward

Move to a city if you don't like the countryside.

The badgers are already there and bigger than their country dwellers:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-29430022

Get yur guuurns 'n pitchforks ready.

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Not environmentally-friendly high-tech jobs! Anything but that!

These people do realize that most communities will figuratively line up to stab each other in the face to get a major company to make a billion-dollar investment of this nature near them? Apple was early in on the trend to commit to running their company using clean energy. No neighbor is perfect, but geez, talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth....

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Re: Not environmentally-friendly high-tech jobs! Anything but that!

One of the objectors, Alan Daly is an American-born immigrant. His concerns centered around strain on the Irish electrical grid and no apparent plans to cope with greenhouse gas emissions from the data center.

As the centre runs on Electricity and given Apple's commitment to renewables I can only thing that the greenhouse emissions must come from the outside lavvy.

Some people will find anything to complaine about. Mr Daly is also complaining about a proposed Amazon DC near Dublin.

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Re: Not environmentally-friendly high-tech jobs! Anything but that!

As the centre runs on Electricity and given Apple's commitment to renewables I can only thing that the greenhouse emissions must come from the outside lavvy.

Whilst I'm sure your concerns about Daly's motives are well founded, Apple's commitment to renewables is mere marketing tripe. Absent some truly immense battery storage system (about a week's worth of total DC demand), and significant over-provision of the renewable generation capacity, any DC will be using fossil fuel power all through the winter nights, AND even when running on renewable electricity, the grid will be reliant upon fossil fuel back up, as will be the DC for its on site power backup.

Usually, sanctimonious companies pretending to be "green" contract with a wind or solar power provider for a nominally similar total volume of power, but a completely different time profile. They then claim that makes them 100% renewable, but it isn't, because where the renewable power does not match the demand profile, they are in fact dependent upon fossil fuels. A bit like certain energy companies in the UK, claiming that they supply 100% renewable energy to households.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not environmentally-friendly high-tech jobs! Anything but that!

Also, I would like so called green-company renew, reuse and recover old and abandoned industrial areas, not destroy green ones. Just recovering old industrial areas cost more.... clearing a wood is less expensive. And when they say "green", they mean "greed".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not environmentally-friendly high-tech jobs! Anything but that!

And when they say "green", they mean "greed".

Well, if the EU manage to force the Irish government to stick the big tax bill to Apple, the laugh will be on Apple. The only reason for choosing the distant reaches of Ireland for a European DC was low cost and tax avoidance.

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Headmaster

Re: Some people will find anything to complaine about

Some people will find anything to complain about.

Happy to oblige. I'm here all week.

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@Ledswinger - you sure have a high bar for green energy

If Apple was drawing grid power on those cold winter nights, but supplying an equal amount of on-site generated clean power to the grid at other times it is still carbon neutral. You don't need to run entirely off grid to be "green". If some of the waste heat was used to heat homes on days/nights when they need heat, they wouldn't even need to generate as much as they draw to OFFSET as much as they draw.

I don't know anything about the proposal and if it is intended to generate all its own energy or only a portion, but anyone suggesting that its "marketing tripe" if they don't have enough batteries to run without grid connection is utterly clueless.

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Re: Not environmentally-friendly high-tech jobs! Anything but that!

"any DC will be using fossil fuel power all through the winter nights, AND even when running on renewable electricity, the grid will be reliant upon fossil fuel back up, as will be the DC for its on site power backup."

Suggest you look at Lulea in Sweden and http://thenodepole.com/ natural cooling and lots of hydro power.

Not all data centres are created equal

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Re: @DougS - you sure have a high bar for green energy

I've worked in the energy industry for many years, these "offset" arrangements are a con. Under grid operation rules, energy generated at the lowest marginal cost is used first, and all generating plant is ranked in a "merit curve" of marginal cost. This means wind and solar always get used unless there's a grid restriction. So if it gets built, it gets used. A customer saying they've bought an offset contract doesn't mean anything, it just means that the wind generator gets paid by that customer rather than another customer, or offloading on the wholesale market. Rarely is any new wind power brought to market because of the contracts, because few companies will actually pay the real cost of windpower, which is being built due to government rules and subsidies. Even if they do buy a windfarm, because design, development and construction of wind farms is a specialist skills set, it will either already be built or in development for the purposes of trade sale, so there's no incremental gain against a counterfactual case.

So if now new wind power is brought to market, and all available windpower is going to be used anyway, where's the gain? I'll say it again, offsetting is a con on the hard of thinking, and you would appear to be utterly clueless about how the energy system actually functions.

Your comment about using waste heat from a DC might have some merit if the DC weren't being built in the middle of nowhere, but it ignores the huge capital costs of heat networks, the significant premium for low temperature heating systems, and the dismal efficiency of low temperature heat transfers (I could write a thesis on those matters, but this isn't the place). So technically it can be done, in cost terms it is very expensive, and because of the very peaky seasonal and diurnal loads for heat, the asset utilisation is very poor. And therefore you still need to build all the cooling and heat dump capabilities into the DC.

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Re: Not environmentally-friendly high-tech jobs! Anything but that!

Not all data centres are created equal

They most certainly are not. But the handful of Nordic DCs that this applies to are not much help for the many locations where there's no surplus of hydropower and cooling water.

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Re: Not environmentally-friendly high-tech jobs! Anything but that!

Your prejudices are showing. Actually, they chose the site because the Irish climate, unfortunately, doesn't require a lot of cooling. Hence Microsoft's extremely large DC in Dublin, Facebook's second new DC in Clonee, the Google one and not to mention the huge capacity Amazon has in EU-WEST (aka Dublin). On top of that, there is a new transatlantic fibre which has just landed in Belmullet and is being plumbed to Dublin via Athenry, the M6 motorway to Dublin which bypasses the site has fibre on each side of the carriageway, the ESB fibre (they wrap fibre around the high tension lines) passes through Athenry, as does the rail system which also also has a fibre network. On top of that, Derrydonnell includes a very large wind farm. They also wanted it to be near a motorway (for some reason) and that site is beside the intersection between the M6 from Galway to Dublin and the newly-opened M18 to Limerick/Shannon.

But feck it, say it's for tax avoidance. That's much easier than actually doing any research.

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Re: Not environmentally-friendly high-tech jobs! Anything but that!

But feck it, say it's for tax avoidance. That's much easier than actually doing any research.

Its for tax avoidance purposes. If cool climate cooling and availability of wind power were any form of deciding factor, they'd have built it in Scotland which is colder, windier, and has much better developed wind generating assets. Or they could have chosen Iceland and used geothermal electricity, or Norway, which has a cooler climate and a hell of a lot of hydro power. Denmark has similar wind resources to Ireland, and is colder, and wouldn't need to use the submarine cables for most EU traffic, and has better interconnects to the US than Ireland.

Let me run that by you again, it's for tax avoidance. Operationally there's no reason at all to select Ireland as a DC location to serve the UK or mainland Europe.

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No Operational Justification for placing a Data Centre anywhere in Ireland

The only reason Apple is planning a data centre in Ireland is to benefit from the sweetheart deal the corporation has with the Irish State.

These tax dodging and development "deals" amount to little more than bribery and are in the process of being dismantled by the EU. At that point Ireland will discover that data centres are amazing portable, if Apple doesn't abandon the project first.

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Re: No Operational Justification for placing a Data Centre anywhere in Ireland

This seems a very confused post.

Apple are building a new US data centre in Iowa with a $200 Million incentive (or bribes as you class them). Other states would have vied to win that business with incentives (sorry, bribes)

I presume that's ok because you know, America.

The EU have targeted Apple for a Revenue tax grab, not development money.

Thanks to the UK leaving there is little chance they would want to stop more data centres being built as long as they are in the EU and not the UK. Apple has a shit load of outside US money for all the obvious US taxation reasons.

Back in the EU Denmark have a new data centre completed and Apple have just announced a new one.

So bottom line, its business as usual unless the Keystone Cops Congress can deliver lower corp tax rates. I wouldn't hold your breath on that one.

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Re: No Operational Justification for placing a Data Centre anywhere in Ireland

I am old enough to remember the lengths to which the Irish government went to temps foreign businesses in general and Apple in particular to Ireland, At the time it was a complete package - taxation rates that undercut all the logical alternatives, development and establishment subsidies, funded training schemes, including a soft ride through the regulatory agencies; news of the deal was received with astonishment around the world. There are still Irish politicians around who will do anything not to become implicated in the discussions about the relationship between Eire, government members and Apple. It goes far further than corporation tax.

The EU is the largest trading bloc in the world. Placing a data centre on its periphery in an isolated nation with poor infrastructure and an under-educated workforce only makes sense if the sweetheart deal lasts.

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Re: No Operational Justification for placing a Data Centre anywhere in Ireland

So with no history of manufacturing or major natural reserves a country uses its wits to get overseas business. So?

Under-educated workforce?

Ireland is number 6 just behind Netherlands and Singapore for Education here for example.

http://uk.businessinsider.com/wef-ranking-of-best-school-systems-in-the-world-2016-2016-11/#2-switzerland-62-10

It has a very good general education system, the UK and US have shocking poor general education standards but have an excellent top 1% which deceives the clueless, that's all that matters these days.

Poor infrastructure?

For roads and rail, no doubt but this is Tech, bits and bytes, and once built that and cooling is all that matters, there are direct links from the USA to Ireland.

None to Portugal, Norway, Sweden, Germany etc...

https://www.submarinecablemap.com/

With cash reserves of $250 Billion dollars most of those overseas and no real idea how to spend it you really think Apple would put its Data Centre at a disadvantage for a few million quid.

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Re: No Operational Justification for placing a Data Centre anywhere in Ireland

Colin is bang on with his remark about telecom infrastructure aka submarine cables: Ireland is a great location, because it is on the continental shelf at the edge of the Atlantic deep.

The other observation is that Ireland is closer to the USA than any other country in Europe. Geographically, it's true... but also time zones (8 hours off California, not 9), and most importantly linguistically (which is to say neither Californians nor the Irish speak proper English, but the improper English is understandable).

The next best location (culturally) is the Netherlands, but the timezone, distance and cost-per-hectare figures are all worse than Ireland's.

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Re: No Operational Justification for placing a Data Centre anywhere in Ireland

The only reason Apple is planning a data centre in Ireland

I suggest you brush up on:

1. Cable route georgaphy

2. Real estate costs.

3. Energy costs

4. Labor costs and availability of qualified labor

5. Additional logistics costs from lack of language barrier

6. Education level of the population and quality of technical education.

It is the best place to put a cloud datacenter to serve Europe at present - significantly cheaper real estate than most of Western Europe, plenty of relatively cheap energy from reneweables, relatively low cooling costs due to ambient temperature and lots of water around to run through the chillers. Add to that more than enough fat pipework to the rest of Europe and the picture is complete.

While putting HQ in Ireland is a tax issue, putting engineering facilities in it is simply an acknowledgement of the fact that it makes economic sense. That is why it is in Galloway in the middle of f*** nowhere and not in let's say Wicklow by the way.

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Re: No Operational Justification for placing a Data Centre anywhere in Ireland

@ Uberseehandel

The EU is the largest trading bloc in the world. Placing a data centre on its periphery in an isolated nation with poor infrastructure and an under-educated workforce only makes sense if the sweetheart deal lasts.

To answer this in Irish - What complete and utter shite!

Under-educated? Time was the only thing Ireland had to export was graduates - and even today, its education system punches way above the country's weight.

By dint of being a good European nation, Ireland has benefited with structural funding which has seen extensive improvements to the major arterial roads. And, as been pointed out, once this is up and running, infrastructure is largely immaterial. The irony is that Ireland, especially if is "accepts" the Apple windfall, is about to tip over and become a net EU contributor rather than a beneficiary .

As others have schooled you on the error of your post, probably best that you just let this one go.

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Facepalm

Galway != Galloway

>That is why it is in Galloway in the middle of f*** nowhere

Someone else needs a geography lesson. Galloway is in Scotland

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Re: No Operational Justification for placing a Data Centre anywhere in Ireland

You want the data close to the users, and jurisdictionally it is a good idea anyway. If Apple had all their data housed in the US, and then the EU required that data on EU citizens must reside in the EU, they'd be left scrambling. Might as well prepare for that eventuality (or maybe it is already true, I don't have any reason to know EU data protection laws) so if they're going to build in the EU, why not Ireland?

They already have thousands of employees there, the rather cool climate is a lot better for datacenters than say Spain or Italy, and even though it isn't that great for solar due to the latitude and clouds there's an unlimited supply of wind available.

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Re: No Operational Justification for placing a Data Centre anywhere in Ireland

Well as the UK screws itself over Brexit most companies are looking at an EU location for data in case the UK doesnt have adequacy arranged (or flights, or food) come March 2019.

Want a data and service operation with no language barrier then Ireland is your go to place if you are a UK business wanting to be GDPR compliant (banks, Insurance, etc etc)

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LDS
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iReland

Soon the country will be renamed as such. Just to make clear who rules there...

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Creating 150 jobs

Yes but, no but...

I always take these claims about 'new jobs' with a truckload of salt. They are rarely, if ever, what they seem to mean. Sometimes they include temporary jobs in construction (mainly imported workers) - some extra income for the local pubs, but a cost for broken furniture.

Then there are the permanent jobs - what jobs will we see in a bit barn? How many will be suitable for unemployed local youngsters? How many will go to highly skilled incomers, who move to the area, buy a house (and inflate prices for said local youngsters), and then fail to blend in to the community. Sure, some extra business for the village shop, but at what a price?

Better a few million euros invested in developing some new and diverse businesses in the area, which are appropriate to the area.

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Re: Creating 150 jobs

How many will be suitable for unemployed local youngsters? How many will go to highly skilled incomers, who move to the area, buy a house (and inflate prices for said local youngsters), and then fail to blend in to the community. Sure, some extra business for the village shop, but at what a price?

Derrydonnel, the site for the data centre, is approximately 20 miles from Galway City, a city with a population of c80,000, a university with 18,000 students, a long record in drawing tech companies to the region - go back to the days of DEC before Compaq swallowed them, Northern Telecom before their woes, Cisco and others.

The other towns in the area are smaller with many of them acting as feeders to Galway but the next largest Tuam has a population of 8000 and is only 15 miles away from the site, Athenry with 4000 is even closer - 5 miles away.

It's more than likely that the population will be able to supply a competent workforce - beyond the extra demand in a local shop.

Like or loathe Apple, at least they didn't shove this into Dublin suburbia as so many things in Ireland seem to.

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Re: Creating 150 jobs

Apple said their data center in Iowa would have 550 construction jobs and create 50 permanent jobs. So depending on their relative sizes, the 150 jobs in Ireland could be construction or could be permanent.

And no, I have no idea how the state giving them a $20 million tax break and the local government giving them a $180 million tax break can possibly be justified for 50 permanent jobs. These tax incentives are a race to the bottom, big companies just take advantage of them.

If I wanted to open a little 20 seat diner that created 5 permanent jobs I'd love to get $2 million in state and $18 million in local incentives! It would be the most amazing goddamn 20 seat diner you ever saw and I'd be more than happy to pay those 5 permanent employees whatever Apple is paying their datacenter workforce for a seat at that tax incentive trough! Unfortunately only big companies that don't need the money get those kind of incentive deals.

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M7S
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Any chance the badger chap might be able to appeal in an EU court?

Seeing as how they have such a positive view of Apple and their compliance with the law (yes I know) at present

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Badgers

OK, there are no snakes in Ireland, but will any endangered mushrooms be affected? Badger badger badger badger.

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Devil

Like Badgers in Ireland

Apple don't pay any tax

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Facts and figures

I have not checked but 500 acres is a huge site, what are the using, mini racks 10U high with room to drive a truck through the gaps.

What this shows is just how much big business can do to sweet-talk politicians and planners. A small number of temporary construction jobs and then a (very) limited number of permanent is really pushing the economic benefits. Every time one of these big distribution centres or data centres comes up jobs is the big card that is used. The reality is that there are bugger all people in them, and those that are will not be that highly paid. Again, I don't know about this one but if you take the distribution centre, why the hell are they not forced to put solar roofs on them. We then have the total insanity of farmland being covered up by solar panels because the subsidies make it worthwhile.

All big businesses are doing everything possible to shaft anyone and everyone who is not part of the club. At some point the wheels will fall off and it will collapse. The trouble is that the arses in the club will all have their money and will not give a stuff, leaving the general public to pick the mess up.

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In the past three have been claims that the Irish government has given to foreign companies illegal (under EU law) subsidies in the for of tax breaks. Wonder if there will be similar claims in this case.

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