Donald Trump's plans to build wall of 200,000 boulders at Irish beach would 'blight stunning stretch of coast'
Donald Trump's controversial plan to build coastal protection works at his golf course in Co Clare would blight one of the most stunning stretches of coast in Ireland, green campaigners have warned.
Environmental group An Taisce has warned Clare County Council that the Trump International Golf Links and Hotel in Doonbeg is already “squeezing the life” out of the Carrowmore Dunes, home to some of the rarest habitats and wildlife in Ireland.
It says a new planning application by Trump International Golf Links to build “monstrous” coastal protection works at White Strand Beach and Carrowmore Dunes is completely unnecessary and would destroy the sand dunes.
Claims by Trump International Golf Links that coastal protection works would save the dunes are completely false, An Taisce said.
“White Strand Beach and the Carrowmore Dunes are a stunning part of the Clare coastline which has drawn surfers and holiday goers to the region for decades,” a spokesman for An Taisce said.
“For generations the dunes near Doonbeg have protected the land behind them from coastal flooding at no expense to the taxpayer. They have provided a recreational space for tourists and locals alike, and support globally threatened wildlife.
“All of this however is under threat as the Donald Trump owned Trump International Golf Links seek to build monstrous coastal protection works which will destroy the sand dunes and blight one of the most stunning stretches of coast in the country.”
The US presidential nominee is due to visit the golf course as part of a trip to the UK and Ireland, starting on June 22. He will be visiting Turnberry and Aberdeen, followed by Ireland.
Mr Trump paid about 15 million euro (£11.6 million) for Doonbeg and promised to invest up to 45 million euro (£35 million).
He is awaiting a decision on plans for 200,000 tonnes of boulders on a 2.8km (1.7-mile) stretch of Doughmore beach where Atlantic storms have ravaged dunes in recent winters – a plan that would cost an estimated 10 million euros.
A spokesman for the Save Doughmore Facebook group say that building a wall here will probably mean flooding somewhere else and increased erosion on other sections of coast.
''The permanent destruction of a beach can never be the correct, moral and sane choice," he said.
''We all understand the destruction the sea can do, many of us who live along the coast have suffered from it, but wouldn't the option of pushing the few impacted greens and tees back inland be a less intrusive solution? Trump owns huge amounts of land inland from the sea, giving a lot of options for moving the course slightly.''
An Taisce said the Carrowmore Dunes at Doonbeg are a protected habitat providing a safe haven for some of the rarest habitats and wildlife in Ireland and across Europe, 85% of sand dune ecosystems are estimated to be under threat.
“The sand dunes are now in a perilous position as the life is being squeezed out of them on one side by the inappropriate design of the adjoining golf course and its management, and on the other side by the proposed construction of coastal protection works which would lock the dunes in place and starve them of the sand which is vital for the ongoing survival,” the spokesman said.
“Trump International Golf Links have put forward that coastal erosion is the greatest threat to the dunes and that their coastal protection works will ultimately save the dunes and protect the golf course and farmland inland.
“This is completely false as the sand dunes have adapted and shifted in response to erosion for millennia. Dunes are naturally dynamic systems and will retreat and advance in response to erosion.
“The dunes are currently being prevented from retreating by the inappropriately sited and designed golf course which should be realigned to allow the dunes to respond to rising sea levels.
“In Ireland and elsewhere coastal squeeze caused by developments, such as inappropriately designed golf courses, are one of the greatest threats to sand dune habitats.
“Likewise coastal protection works such as those proposed by Trump International Golf Links Ltd are accepted as another of the greatest threats to sand dune habitats. This is recognised by Ireland’s National Parks and Wildlife Service who have repeatedly stated that “physical obstruction”, ie coastal protection works, are their greatest concern for the conservation of the site.”
An Taisce called on Donald Trump to follow the example of the Netherlands, one of the nations with the most to fear from coastal erosion and also one of the countries with the longest history of engineered coastal protection works.
“Yet in the Netherlands, the Dutch are protecting and restoring sand dunes because it is in fact more cost effective and better at protecting the coast than hard coastal protection works,” the group said.
“In the Netherlands there is recognition that coastal dunes are important, multifunctional landscapes. They harbour many rare species, of both flora and fauna, protect the hinterland from flooding, provide society with drinking water and serve as recreational space.”
Fintan Kelly, An Taisce’s Natural Heritage Officer, said: “The solution being put forward by Trump International Golf Links Ltd is in our opinion inappropriate, completely unsustainable and outdated.
“The conservation of sand dunes in the Netherlands, USA and UK have proven themselves to be more cost effective than hard coastal protection works and are supplying valued biodiversity and ecosystem services to local communities.
“Given the vast sums of money Donald Trump is claiming he will invest in Doonbeg Golf Course it is clearly within his means to reconsider the design and make Doonbeg great. A holistic approach to the management of our coastline must be taken if they are to remain resilient to climate change.”