Belfast Telegraph

Donald Trump pulls plans for wall next to Co Clare golf course

Golfers walk along the coastal path on the Doonbeg Golf Links course and hotel in Co Clare
Golfers walk along the coastal path on the Doonbeg Golf Links course and hotel in Co Clare

US President-elect Donald Trump has pulled plans for one of his walls - a barrier to stop the Atlantic battering his exclusive golf resort on Ireland's west coast.

The billionaire had sought permission to build a 200,000-tonne, 2.8km sea defence in erosion-hit dunes beside his Doonbeg golf links in Co Clare, overlooking the ocean.

But the local authority revealed plans for the revetment on Doughmore beach were withdrawn on Monday.

"Clare County Council had looked for further information at the end of June. They had until the end of the month to reply," a spokesman said.

The shelved project had been planned for the edge of the golf links where severe winter storms have wiped out metres of beach and dune in recent years.

Mr Trump has said he is not a great believer in man-made climate change but cited global warming and rising seas as a reason for needing the wall.

It faced opposition from environmentalists keen to ensure the survival of the microscopic narrow-mouthed whorl snail, or vertigo angustior, which has survived since the Ice Age.

The 10 million euro limestone wall was expected to be up to nearly four metres high but surfers and other water sports enthusiasts, who have a right of way through the golf course, expressed worry that it would completely alter the dynamics of the waves and make it dangerous to be in the water at high tide.

About one third of the 100-plus submissions made on the original planning application opposed the works.

It is understood an information evening was held in west Clare after the original plans were pulled and an alternative protection system has been outlined to local people, employees at Doonbeg and other interested parties.

Mr Trump paid about 15 million euro for Doonbeg and vowed to invest up to 45 million euro.

Environmental campaign group Save the Waves, which sponsored a petition opposing the original plan, described the shelving of the proposal as a milestone.

Director of programmes Nick Mucha said: "It demonstrates the power of the international community to protect our coasts."

Friends of the Irish Environment director Tony Lowes said: " There is no doubt the original proposal would have stopped the development of the dune system and scoured the beach, leading to a loss of one of the finest amenities on the west coast."

Trump Hotels said it estimated that 15-20m of dune face at the edge of the golf course has been eroded since 2002.

Its new plans involve putting in sea defences to protect the first, ninth and 18th holes, covering about 600m at the south end of Doughmore and 250m at the north end of the bay.

A planning application will be made to insert metal sheet piles into the ground on the golf course and lay limestone boulders on the base of the piles. It said the defence would be invisible and covered by sand and a cobble bank at the back of the beach.

Trump Hotels said the work would be "wholly within lands owned by the golf course".

It said: "There would be no material effect upon the adjacent SAC (Special Area of Conservation) areas."

Trump Hotels reiterated that it was closely considering expanding the Doonbeg resort to include more accommodation, leisure facilities and a banquet hall but that this was "fundamentally dependent" on erosion protection measures.

It said all efforts at soft management of the coastline have failed and efforts to readjust the course have been expended.

Joe Russell, general manager at Doonbeg, said the original plans were revised because of time pressures, after listening to concerns and because the resort could not afford another lost season due to storm erosion.

"That's time I don't have," he said.

Mr Trump's son Eric is responsible for overseeing Doonbeg and was understood to have been centrally involved in the revised plans.

"We listened to what people had to say. This is a reduced version of the original proposal. What it serves to do is to protect the holes that are under immediate threat," Mr Russell said.


From Belfast Telegraph