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'We didn't realise it would be this bad': Cork locals protest against Apple's building works

Noise, dust and the size of the building itself has locals worried about Apple’s latest development.

WhatsApp Image 2017-09-12 at 21.54.01 Source: Jackie McKeown

LOCALS IN THE Ardcullen area of Cork held a demonstration outside the site of tech giant Apple yesterday, protesting against the disruption that building work is having on the community.

Apple received planning permission for an expansion of its European headquarters in Cork last August, after an appeal from some local residents was dismissed.

The company is in the process of building a four-storey office block, with room for an additional 1,000 staff.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, protest organiser Jackie McKeown said that the last 13 months, in particular, of building work at the site had been “hectic”.

received_2019515301407583 Source: Jackie McKeown

She said: “It’s right on our doorsteps. We didn’t have a problem with the building, as such. We don’t want to interfere with employment in our area.

The protest is about how we didn’t realise it was going to be this bad.

So how has the local community been affected?

“It’s a combination of things,” McKeown said. “There’s the noise, the dust, how close the building is to our home.

“The drilling is constant. When my children get up in the morning and I’m making them toast, the toaster does be rocking with the sound of the drill. It does be going all day. Cracks have appeared in the walls of some houses too.

And the dust just gets everywhere. It covers whole cars sometimes. And sometimes we can’t open windows because the dust gets in and goes all over the place.

WhatsApp Image 2017-09-12 at 21.53.20 Source: Jackie McKeown

Locals have met with Apple representatives on a number of occasions, but felt that these meetings did little to fix their problems.

McKeown did say, however, that Apple had offered to clean the windows of homes in the area during the summer, and had offered to paint a number of houses in the immediate vicinity to the site.

“But that’s not good enough,” she said. “It’s caused so much disruption, and that’s set to continue. We’re looking for some sort of compensation package.”

Even when the project is completed, the four-storey building and its lights will loom large around the local community which has predominantly two-storey houses, McKeown added.

Apple did not provide a response following a request for comment from TheJournal.ie.

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However, it is understood that the company is not stockpiling soil on site in order to keep the dust levels down.

Furthermore, hoarding, screening and acoustic barriers have been installed at the site.

In its environmental impact statement lodged with Cork City Council at the time of the planning permission application, Apple said that “it is possible that if the development did not go ahead, there would be a potential serious negative impact on the local and national economy”.

Solidarity-PBP TD Mick Barry told TheJournal.ie: “I do not believe that the actions of Apple towards their neighbours, the residents of Ardcullen have been the actions of good neighbours.

I believe the residents have suffered in silence for quite some time now. I think it is a positive thing that they are finding their voice and I am happy to support their campaign.

The group of locals peacefully protested outside with placards yesterday evening, and plan to do so again next Monday.

“We’re just trying to make our voices heard,” McKeown added.

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Sean Murray

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