Fianna Fáil TD for Wicklow Pat Casey has welcomed the news that planning permission has been sought for a major data centre project at Avoca River Park in Arklow.
Deputy Casey said, “This is the beginning of new era for Arklow and potentially a game changer for jobs development in the South Wicklow region. For years the old IFI site at Avoca River Park has been a metaphor for failed industrial development in Arklow. One of my top priorities for Arklow and the South Wicklow region was locally based jobs development.
“I have been working on this project with Crag Digital Avoca now for the past nine months. I initially met them to discuss their plans for this site and when I saw their ambition for this site, I knew immediately that this was a potential game changer for Arklow. The initial investment involved will transform this brown field site into a major data centre with significant megawatts of capacity which will in turn attract industries in the valuable technology and software sectors.
“Apart from the hundreds of construction jobs that will be needed for the substantial redevelopment of the site, the data centre will become a hub for a business park which is the model that US data centres have evolved into. Tech companies prefer to locate adjacent to these data centres and therefore the potential for not only Arklow but the South Wicklow region is very exciting.
“The old IFI site, which began construction in the 1960’s, employed over 1500 people at its height in the 1970’s. It eventually closed in 2000 and since then it has been a symbol of the lack of regional job growth not just in Arklow but in South Wicklow. This is the dream industry to be located at this site as there are limitations as to the type of development that can take place here and there are crucial infrastructural benefits such as grid connection and its location near the N11 and the fact it is only an hour’s drive from the Dublin Airport.
“This development by Crag Digital Avoca is potentially the beginning of a new era of development and jobs for Arklow and I am delighted to have been of assistance in getting this project to this crucial stage. I will continue to work closely with this company and Wicklow County Council to ensure that this project proceeds through the complexities of our planning process and into construction. This is one of the reasons why I entered national politics and I am determined to see this project benefit jobs and commercial activity not just in Arklow but the entire South Wicklow region.”