Wednesday 28 September 2016

Donald Trump threatens to close Doonbeg resort, if wall not built

Gordon Deegan

Published 01/03/2016 | 02:30

Donald Trump at Doonbeg golf resort
Donald Trump at Doonbeg golf resort
Trump’s lawyers have warned that if he doesn’t get permission for a 200,000-tonne ‘wall’ to protect his Doonbeg golf resort, he may have to close it down. REUTERS/Nick Oxford
In 2014, storms eroded the sand dunes at Doonbeg by as much as six to eight metres in places. Photo credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire ...A

Consultants acting for Donald Trump have warned that if the US billionaire doesn't secure planning permission for a 200,000-tonne 'wall' of rock armour to protect his Doonbeg golf resort, it risks potential closure.

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The stark warning is contained in new plans lodged by the Trump International Golf Links and Hotel with Clare County Council for the construction of a €10m, 2.8km-long wall of limestone rock armour on Doughmore Beach at the golf resort.

The wall is being put in place to prevent the golf course from being washed away by future Atlantic storms.

In the planning application, Trump resort consultants told the council that "in the medium term, the 'do nothing' scenario will bring the viability of the entire resort and its potential closure into question".

They state that "this would result in a permanent and profound negative economic impact" upon Doonbeg and Clare.

They add: "The failure to protect this asset would have a profound adverse and permanent effect on the local economy."

The stakes are high for West Clare, as consultants for Trump's firm TIGL Ireland Enterprises Ltd are forecasting a €38m bonanza for the local economy in the years from 2017 to 2024 from the resort, pictured above.

An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) lodged with the application also confirms ambitions by the resort to stage an Irish Open. However, the 242-page EIS states the resort and the wider economy is missing out on millions of euro because of the absence of a dedicated event centre at the resort.

The EIS warns that "the proposal to develop coastal protection works at Doonbeg is key to releasing future investment at the site". It states that coastal protection "is feasible" and does not depend on the public purse.

It also points out that this type of protection has been utilised at many other coastal golf courses over the past 30 years.

The EIS adds: "With the placement of this protection, a master plan would be developed for the long-term future and viability of the site."

In 2014, storms eroded the sand dunes at Doonbeg by as much as six to eight metres in places.

If no rock barrier is put in place, the sand dune will erode inland at one metre a year "and space becomes limited".

The proposed barrier would be up to 13 feet in height, which would not be higher than the existing cobble bank.

A decision is due in April.

Irish Independent

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