A protest calling for a ban on the development of new data centres was held in Cork city today.
Organised by the Cork branch of People Before Profit (PBP), the rally commenced at noon on Grand Parade.
It was also held to call for support for the party’s Climate Emergencies Bill which PBP will introduce in the Dáil on Thursday.
The Bill will seek to ban the development of new, energy-hungry data centres, at a time where their consumption threatens national supply; stop any proposals to build Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals in Ireland and to limit all new fossil fuel infrastructure in the State.
The party said the problems posed by data centres to ordinary Irish people are increasingly apparent, in light of a boom in their construction in recent years.
“Their consumption of power and water are an unprecedented demand on Irish infrastructure and place Ireland's efforts to reduce its energy consumption and reach its Paris Treaty targets in serious jeopardy,” PBP said in a statement ahead of the rally.
Presently, there are 70 data centres operating in Ireland with eight more under construction and more in the planning stages.
According to PBP, data centres consume 11% of all electricity produced in the State at present - compared to a global average of 2%.
By 2030 they say, this will rise to almost 30% of all power used - and over half of all renewable energy produced - in the State.
Solidarity TD for Cork North-Central Mick Barry voiced his support for banning new data centre developments.
“There is no way that the State should be giving the green light for more and more data centres when householders face the possibility of electricity blackouts.
“Data centres use up 2% of the world's electricity supply but in Ireland it's 11% and rising rapidly.
“The Government are giving the big tech companies everything they want.
“That's exactly what you would expect from Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael but I think a lot of Green Party voters would have expected better from them,” he said.