Leo Varadkar unable to get Tim Cook's commitment to Apple data centre in County Galway, Ireland

 
Alys Key
Follow Alys
Leo Varadkar was unable to get Tim Cook to commit to a start date this week (Source: @campaignforleo)

Apple's plans to build a data centre in Ireland are in doubt after chief executive Tim Cook would not make a firm commitment in a meeting with the Taoiseach.

Leo Varadkar visited Apple's headquarters while on a trade mission to San Francisco, noting on his Twitter that Apple employs more than 5,000 people in Ireland.

But the Irish leader later told broadcaster RTE that Cook had stopped short of committing to the project to build a data centre in Athenry, County Galway.

While the delegation secured a promise that Apple would continue to consider the site in rural Western Ireland, there was no firm start date agreed.

Varadkar said he was behind the project and had told Cook that Dublin would do anything in its power to get the project started.

Read more: London and Dublin must work together

The data centre was first discussed two years ago as part of a European expansion by Apple which established plans for the Irish site and one in Jutland, Denmark. Plans for the Danish site have run smoother than those in Ireland, with a finishing date now set for 2019.

Meanwhile the Irish project has met with various false starts and local opposition. Just this week, the High Court rejected attempts by two residents to pursue an appeal against use of the site, supposedly putting a stop to uncertainty over the data centre's location.

Varadkar acknowledge the role the delays had in slowing down Apple's plans, but said he was going to introduce changes to ensure big projects could get approved faster in future.

Read more: Dublin has been the biggest Brexit winner (so far) in financial services

Related articles