Regressive Move to Overturn County Development Plan ‘Ban’ of Data Centres

Cllr Derren Ó Brádaigh

A local councillor has strongly criticised the intervention of Minister Peter Burke to reverse the decision by South Dublin County Councillors taken in March of this year, banning the construction of any more data centres in its jurisdiction. Councillors voted to support the ban during the recent making of the South Dublin County Development Plan 2022-2028, amid growing concerns regarding the sheer number that already exist in the greater Dublin area and their negative impacts.

Cllr for Lucan-Palmerstown-North Clondalkin, Derren Ó Brádaigh said “We have just learned that the council has been advised that a draft direction on the County Development Plan will issue from the Minister in the coming weeks, based on the Office of the Planning Regulator’s recommendation not to ‘ban’ data centres. With 50% of all data centres in Ireland now located in South Dublin County and using massive amounts of power and water, the risk to the security of our energy supply is very real. A report from Eirgrid has told us that data centres could be using up to a third of the national grid by 2030.

“Earlier this year, councillors clearly expressed their preference to see a moratorium at the very least for the next 6 years, until more is known about the serious potential impacts of data centres on energy consumption, carbon emissions and their immense strain on water and electricity structures. With the County Development Plan now made and coming into effect this week, the intervention by the Minister at the eleventh hour, is in my view, undemocratic and undermines the role of councillors, in the carefully considered making of the plan. We have very clear commitments to drastically reduce our carbon emissions by 2030 and data centres simply make our targets increasingly more elusive.

“As we know data centres require land, and lots of it, taking up vast amounts of space. Aside from the initial construction, a data centre employs an average of 30 people. It is estimated that there are as few as 1800 people employed in total in Ireland, with residents and local communities never really benefiting directly from the sector. It is also worth remembering that there are EU plans to limit the natural gas usage by member states coming down the line too.

“South Dublin County Council will now essentially be instructed by the Minister to retain the ‘open for consideration’ inclusion clause, allowing for data centres to be permissible within the relevant zoning. It has become very clear recently that the government have decided that there will be no slow down, moratorium or ban on the continued expansion of new or existing data centres. This comes only a week after the Taoiseach made a statement saying as much.  Following the ministerial direction to overrule the council’s decision, there is now a 4-week process whereby councillors can make submissions from the notification date of Friday 28th July, however the consultation period for the public is only half this time at just 2 weeks. The online portal for members of the public to make submissions will run during the less-than-ideal peak summer holiday period.

This really flies in the face of Ireland’s responsibilities to address our targets as set out in the Climate Action Plan 2030 and despite the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) introducing restrictions for access to the national grid, due to fears of potential nationwide blackouts. It would seem to me that this government have chosen to take a decision regarding data centres based on a very narrow economic view, at the peril of a much more environmentally savvy one.”

Sarah Brooks

Sarah Brooks

Sarah has worked in marketing and content creation for many years. In her role at Newsgroup, she is the online editor of with a particular interest in local news and events. Sarah also works closely with our editorial team on our printed editions in Tallaght, Lucan, Clondalkin and Rathcoole/Saggart. If you have a story and would like to make contact please email Sarah at



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