Apple CEO Tim Cook said, in a statement, “This significant new investment represents Apple’s biggest project in Europe to date.”
The new facilities will both measure 166,000 square meters (545,000 square feet) and the Galway location will create 300 jobs in the west of Ireland. The centers will power Apple’s online services, such as the Tunes Store, App Store, iMessaging, maps, and Siri. The plants will come into operation in 2017.
The two new centers will focus on clean energy and the protection of the environment. The Galway plant will provide outdoor education space for schools in the area and a walking trail. The Athenry plant will be built on a Coillte-owned greenfield site, at Derrydonnell. IDA Ireland and Coillte worked together “on providing a property solution to secure the Apple investment announced today.”
Apple’s statement explained that for “the project in Athenry, Ireland, Apple will recover land previously used for growing and harvesting non-native trees and restore native trees to Derrydonnell Forest.”
This announcement is doubly significant with relation to Ireland’s economy as it comes following the Irish government’s announcement that they would phase out the tax arraignment known as the “double Irish,” which had allowed companies such as Apple, Facebook, Google and others to reduce their tax liabilities.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny welcomed the announcement, calling it a "very significant investment in the West of Ireland", while Jobs Minister Richard Bruton dubbed it "a huge boost for the west and a great example of what is possible with the right policies.”
These European facilities will have the lowest environmental impact yet for an Apple data center.
Apple now directly employs 18,300 people in 19 European countries (2,000 of those were added in the last 12 months alone), and supports nearly 672,000 European jobs.