Towns in Ireland are scrambling to compete for a slice of the data centre pie, viewing centres as a quick route to transforming the economic fortunes of their areas

The latest proposition is an eye-watering €400m, 51-hectare, 90mw, site in Clare, presented to councillors this week, one year after the council earmarked Clare’s potential as a data centre hub.

Before permission is granted, the local authority will have to amend county development plans, but estimates work to begin in September 2019.

According to Clare.FM the local authority estimates 1,100 jobs would be created during construction, along with another 1,000 direct and indirect jobs when it’s fully open.

If constructed the planned data centre will be Ireland’s largest, following the collapse of Apple’s 200,000 sq ft. facility this year.

Cllr Tom McNamara praised the opportunity, saying that if delivered the data centre ‘will be the same as having a gold mine’.

Facebook, Apple and Amazon were raised as possible investors for the application lodged by Dublin-based firm, Art Data Centres Ltd, which was created in August this year.

Fine Gael TD Joe Carey said: “We are all very much aware of the lengthy planning difficulties which ultimately led to the demise of the €850m Apple data centre in Athenry.”

“They contribute to job creation and generate significant added economic benefit by providing a range of services to other firms that undertake production, research and development, marketing, sales, service, and support activities in locations with no physical or geographic connection to the data centre.”

The news comes as Equinix Ireland opens up channel partner programme to Irish firms, allowing partners to access Equinix’s 200 data centres in 52 markets.

Research conducted by BroadGroup last year places Ireland as a leading data centre market – attracting international interest due to its status within the European Union and its low corporate tax framework.

Major provider CyrusOne was recently granted permission for a €400mn data centre in Dublin, despite complaints from local residents about its proposed size.

According to Digital Realty, which operates a €150 million data centre campus at Profile Park, the Irish data economy is worth €9.96bn a year.