On Friday 18th November at 1pm a protest will be held at the Department of Local Government at Custom House Quay to demand that the Minister Peter Burke uphold a ban on data centres in South Dublin County. In June of this year a majority of councillors in South Dublin voted in favour of an amendment to bring in a moratorium on new data centres in South Dublin County for the duration of the Development Plan 2022-28. A draft direction to remove the amendment was issued by the Minister in late July, and that was put out to public consultation. A final Direction is expected to be issued by the Minister in the near future. Protesters will be demanding that Minister Burke uphold the democratic decision of councillors. The amendment was proposed by People Before Profit councillor Madeleine Johansson.
South Dublin has become a hub for data centres with 34 data centres in operation as of May 2021. Concerns have been raised about the capacity of the electricity grid to cope with the pressure from the centres on the grid. According to Eirgrid; Over the last 4 years we have seen annual increases in demand usage of around 600 GWh from data centres alone – equivalent to the addition of 140,000 households to the power system each year.
The proliferation of data centres nationally is impeding Ireland’s ability to meet its climate change targets. A report from the Irish Academy of Engineering in 2019 argued that even if 30% of the electricity comes from highly efficient gas-fired stations “data centre development is projected to add at least 1.5 MtCO to Ireland’s carbon emissions by 2030”. That’s a 15% increase on current electricity related emissions.
Cllr Madeleine Johansson commented: “This is the final stage of the plan and if the ban is overturned it means that new data centres could get planning permission in the area despite South Dublin already having almost half of all the data centres in the country.
Power hungry data centres are placing an enormous strain on the electricity grid both locally and nationally. The energy demand of the centres are likely to cause blackouts in some areas and will contribute to national carbon emissions.
We’re demanding that the Minister respect local democracy and uphold the ban! We need to stop facilitating large corporations ahead of our local communities!”