Belfast Telegraph

Trump given green light for sea defences off golf resort

A view of the Doonbeg Golf Links course and hotel in Co Clare.
A view of the Doonbeg Golf Links course and hotel in Co Clare.

US President Donald Trump has got the go-ahead for one of his walls - a sea defence at his exclusive golf resort on Ireland's west coast.

Planning authorities gave the green light for the billionaire to protect his Doonbeg golf links in Co Clare with man-made dunes to keep back Atlantic storms.

The work will involve putting in sea defences to protect the first, ninth and 18th holes of the course covering about 600m at the south end of Doughmore Bay and 250m at the north end.

The aim is to create a sea defence that will stem erosion where severe winter storms have wiped out metres of beach and dune in recent years.

Clare County Council said the decision can be appealed within four weeks.

Joe Russell, general manager of Trump Doonbeg, said: " This decision demonstrates the council's commitment to support local business and protect the economic future of the region.

"Trump Doonbeg will continue to engage with all stakeholders throughout the construction process."

He also said that the hotel group would press on with "ambitious plans to protect and expand" facilities at Doonbeg.

As part of the planning conditions, Mr Trump's resort management will have to keep a close eye on the impact on beach users, the Carrowmore dune system itself and plants and animals.

A surfers' right of way through Doonbeg links must also be protected.

Mr Trump will have to fork out more than 265,000 euro (£235,000) for the County Council to cover the cost of adding or repairing roads and footpaths in the area and other public infrastructure.

Most of the work, known as revetment, will take place on the beach about 12m seaward from where the dunes now stop.

The plan involves inserting metal sheet piles into the ground and lay limestone boulders on the base of the piles. The defence would be invisible and covered by sand and a cobble bank at the back of the beach.

Other conditions include hiring an ecologist to oversee the work and a commitment that the resort owners will maintain the defence forever.

President Trump last year pulled plans for more extensive coastal protection works at Doonbeg amid fierce oppositions to a 200,000 tonne, 2.8km (two mile) sea defence.

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

The dune system is also home to the microscopic narrow-mouth whorl snail, or vertigo angustior, which has survived since the Ice Age.

Mr Trump paid about 15 million euro (£11.6 million) for Doonbeg and vowed to invest up to 45 million euro (£35 million).

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

Tony Lowes, of Friends of the Irish Environment - which challenged the original plan, said: " Any intervention through physical barriers will impede the natural evolution of the dune system and put at risk protected species, even without considering the loss to Doughmore strand and its great dunes.

"The decision must be appealed."


From Belfast Telegraph