Objectors to Apple's proposed €850 million data centre outside Athenry in Co Galway, have applied to the Supreme Court for permission to appeal an earlier High Court decision that gave the green light for the development to proceed.

The proceedings look set to further delay the planned project, which if it goes ahead could create up to 150 permanent jobs.

Last month the High Court refused to allow Allan Daly and Sinead Fitzpatrick, who live in the Athenry area, permission to appeal its earlier decision to the Court of Appeal.

In October the court had ruled against the objectors' application to have the permission for the project granted by An Bord Pleanála overturned.

They had argued that the planning permission was invalid because the board failed to carry out a proper Environmental Impact Assessment of the proposed development.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott later refused to allow them appeal that decision to the Court of Appeal, saying he was not satisfied that their arguments constituted a point of law of exceptional public importance, or that it should be the subject of an appeal in the public interest.

Before the Supreme Court accepts a case for determination it must be satisfied that it involves a point of law of general public importance or one necessary in the interests of justice to determine.

A spokesperson for the Courts Service confirmed the objectors’ application was lodged on Friday.r.

He said the Supreme Court would first make a determination based on paper submissions about whether to admit the case for hearing.

He said this would take a matter of weeks.

If the court refuses to admit the case, then that will end the case.

If it does admit it, the case will go to full hearing, a process that is likely to take at least six months.

Amid the delays, Apple has remained tight-lipped about whether or not it still intends to proceed with the data centre.

At a meeting a month ago with the Taoiseach in the US, Apple chief executive Tim Cook stopped short of committing to begin the project if final permission was granted.

Apple first announced plans to construct the data centre on a greenfield site at Derrydonnell Woods near Athenry in February 2015.

Construction of the first phase promised to generate 300 temporary jobs, with up to 150 permanent staff required to run it.

The following September, Galway County Council gave permission for it to proceed subject to conditions, but that decision was subsequently appealed to An Bord Pleanála.

Following oral hearings the planning authority confirmed the permission in August of last year.

A spokesperson for the Athenry for Apple group, which supports the project, described the appeal application as "deeply regrettable".

"It is even more regrettable that the objectors have not taken into consideration the will of the vast majority of the locality of the community and of the people of Ireland in general," the spokesperson said.

"To have one of the most advanced data centres in the world in a rural community like Athenry would show the world that Ireland is open for advanced business and welcomes sustainable Enterprise here in the west of Ireland."

A spokesperson for Apple declined to comment on the latest developments.