Thu, 30 Jun 2022

DUBLIN, Ireland: In a message sent to the international high tech community, Ireland's state planning watchdog has ordered the South Dublin County Council to cancel its ban on the development of new data centers.

Ireland's Office of the Planning Regulator has issued its concerns about recent amendments approved by councillors to the council's draft development plan that would ban high tech data centers, noting the prohibition was issued without any "strategic justification."

The ban has also been opposed by Industrial Development Agency Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and IBEC association, Cloud Infrastructure Ireland, as well as a variety of business groups and technology companies.

The amendments banning data centers were proposed by People Before Profit councillor Madeline Johansson, which passed by 18 votes to 14 in March, which prevented land to be made available for construction of data centers.

Currently, within the area governed by South Dublin County Council, companies including Microsoft, Amazon and Google operate data centers.

However, 90 percent of the data centers in Ireland are located in Dublin city and county.

Johansson sought the ban, noting the drain on the area's power supplies caused by data centers.

"We've had power outages in the Clondalkin area in the past year, and it is something that people are genuinely worried about," said Johansson, as quoted by thejournal.ie.

Meanwhile, while the Commission of Regulation of Utilities eliminated the moratorium on new data centers, it added that future locations of facilities and their ability to generate their own power supplies would become an increasing concern.

The Industrial Development Agency, in a report, said, "If Ireland is to maximize the benefits of technology advancements brought about by 5G, AI, the internet of things and virtual reality, Ireland will need to continue to facilitate sizable data centre growth."

The Industrial Development Agency said that the technology sector employs 140,000 people nationwide and is worth €52bn to Ireland's economy.

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