The Irish High Court has issued an injunction preventing a man from letting horses graze on land set to house a new data center in County Meath. It is the latest in a series of legal disputes on the land.

Local press including BreakingNews and the Irish Independent report the temporary High Court injunction restrains a neighbor from accessing or placing horses on the property – which is set to soon be handed over to EngineNode for a data center development.

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EngineNode's planned data center – EngineNode

Siblings Bernard, Lorcan, Nicola, and Patrica Ward, the owners of a 2.5-acre site known as the Bracetown in Clonee, filed the injunction against Mannix Coyne, who lives near the property.

The Wards have an agreement to sell the land to Enginenode for a long-planned data center on the site. But the family said Coyne – who is opposed to the development – had been placing his horses on the land without permission, and has alleged some sort of proprietary interest on the property.

The last in a series of grazing licenses granted to Coyne by the Wards expired in 2021, according to the family’s lawyer, but he has continued to place his horses on the land and refused to move them.

The Wards said they were concerned that the commercial arrangement for the sale of the lands may be at risk as they are due to hand over possession of the site later this month.

Counsel for the Wards, Stephen Moran, noted Coyne's actions may be linked to his opposition of the development, and said: "No credible basis has been offered by the defendant to show that he has any propriety claims to the lands."

The judge granted the temporary order prohibiting Coyne from entering into, accessing, or placing his animals on the property, and adjourned the matter to a date later this month.

Coyne had previously opposed the application for planning permission for the proposed data center. The Irish High Court dismissed Coyne’s attempt to block the development last year.

Coyne filed a lawsuit claiming An Bord Pleanála’s decision to allow the development was "flawed, invalid, and should be set aside," arguing it did not comply with planning regulations, the 2000 Planning and Development Act, the 2015 Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act, the EU Directive on Environmental Impact Assessments, and the EU Habitats Directive. The lawsuit was dismissed on all grounds.

Last year Coyne also separately filed to appeal against planning permission granted to an Amazon data center in Dublin.

Dublin-based EngineNode was founded in 2018 by Jason O'Conaill, Eir's former head of data centers and founder of Amazon Web Services Usergroup Ireland, and Ronan Kneafsey, a former managing director of telecoms and data centers at Eir.

The company first submitted plans to build four two-story data centers with a combined gross floor area of ~92,100 sqm (990,000 sq ft) and a substation on a 24.5-hectare site in 2019. The on-site "energy center’ has since been removed from the plans.

Meath County Council originally granted permission for the facility in 2022 on the condition the company pay €1.85 million ($2.1m) towards the new Bracetown Link Road, which it tried to challenge. Meath County's decision was also challenged by groups including An Taisce and Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE), who took the issue to An Bord Pleanála. However, these were all dismissed.

Around the same time, Facebook claimed EngineNode had tried to build on lands owned by the social media giant without permission. The social media company operates a data center in Clonee and said EngineNode’s proposed works included the provision of a roundabout and road through FB's lands without permission.

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