Saturday, November 25, 2017

Apple vs regulations: How Ireland’s data centre arena shifted in the last 24h

From court battles to judges shortfalls, Ireland seems to be now bulking up its stance on data centres to enable a connected future in and out of the island.

Ireland was in 2015 caught up in a PR nightmare when Apple’s $1bn data centre project was faced with local objections triggering a two-year-long process until the Irish High Court approved the development last week.

The long period changed the Irish society’s view on IT infrastructure and hundreds of people took to the streets in support of the development more than twice.

However, despite Apple’s apparent court victory, the lawyers of the objectors to the project in Athenry have already come forward to announce their clients wish to appeal against the court’s decision to go ahead with the development.

Allan Day and Sinead Fitzpatrick, the two main objectors, have been given until October 20, 9:30am, to present their formal appeal.

Yet, with or without appeal, the Apple data centre has already left much deeper marks in the Irish data centre market.

In the wake of several protests against the long judicial process that oversaw the case, the Government was forced to step out its take on the sector and announce it would review the legislation regarding data centre projects in Ireland.

When attending Datacloud Ireland 2017 in Dublin in September, Pat Breen, TD, Minister of State with special responsibility for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, told the audience that the government “is committed to ensuring that Ireland remains a world leader location for data activities, including the construction of data centres”.

The administration’s commitment has quickly transformed into actions, as the Government has now announced it has approved a new set of regulations that will help attract more data centre investment into Ireland, according to RTE.

Some of the measures now approved include the addition of data centres in the Irish Strategic Infrastructure Act, which will allow planning applications to be sent directly to the An Bord Pleanála therefore speeding up the approval rate.

To learn more about Ireland’s data centre ecosystem, what the Apple’s data centre delay meant to the country and the future of the industry, Data Economy spoke to Garry Connolly, president of Host in Ireland, in a video interview that you can watch below.