Thursday 8 December 2016

'We have put blood, sweat and tears into Doonbeg' - Trump's son Eric

Gordon Deegan

Published 16/05/2016 | 02:30

Eric Trump at Doonbeg. Photo: Liam Burke/Press 22
Eric Trump at Doonbeg. Photo: Liam Burke/Press 22

There is no question but that Donald Trump will return to Doonbeg many times as president of the Unites States - at least if you ask his son Eric.

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There is no question but that Donald Trump will return to Doonbeg many times as president of the Unites States - at least if you ask his son Eric.

Looking out at the redesigned golf course yesterday, Eric Trump declared: "Right now, my father is winning the day in America. If the vote was today, he would be president of the United States."

The revamp by renowned course designer Dr Martin Hawtree is the end of a two-year project. To date, the Trumps have invested "north of $50m to $60m" (€45m to €53m) in Doonbeg, including the purchase price, since February 2014. It seems they are ready to spend more.

Eric Trump said: "Nowadays, Doonbeg is really becoming the talk of the world, which is really nice for the west of Ireland.

"I think people are blown away by what they see. The members are on cloud nine.

Donald Trump, arriving at Shannon Airport in 2014. Photo: Sean Curtin
Donald Trump, arriving at Shannon Airport in 2014. Photo: Sean Curtin

"We have put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this property. It is a special day for the family. It is a property we love."

Mr Trump said that his father knew every inch of the course intimately.

"I was on the phone to him earlier for 20 minutes and he was asking, 'How is (hole) four looking? How is six? How is 18?' He was very envious of me being here."

Plans were lodged with Clare County Council for a €10m coastal protection work or 'berm' to protect the course from being washed away by wild Atlantic storms.

The hotel beside the links at Doonbeg. Photo: PA
The hotel beside the links at Doonbeg. Photo: PA

"When I came here and saw it for the first time in 2014, they lost 20 or 30 metres of dunes. You have a couple more storms and quite frankly that course doesn't exist," said Mr Trump.

"If that course doesn't exist, nor does the hotel because I would say upwards of 90pc of all people who come to this resort are coming with golf clubs. If you take away that amenity, this place couldn't survive in the location it is in and you don't have the employees.

"The coastal berm is very important, Lahinch has it, Ballybunion has it and they have had it for a very long time.

"Nowadays, it seems like there is a 100-year storm every year and you get caught by a couple more storms, you are not going to have a course. Whatever you do, you have to make sure that you do it sensitively and super-delicately.

Ivanka Trump, who accompanied her father on his visit to Clare two yeas ago. Photo: Reuters
Ivanka Trump, who accompanied her father on his visit to Clare two yeas ago. Photo: Reuters

"There is no question that the council is behind it. The local community is 1,000pc behind it because they need it and it is an absolute necessity for the area and for local employment.

"Doonbeg will go down as one of the great treasures of Ireland. It would be a shame to see that disappear."

He continued: "There are holes right on the water that would disappear. You couldn't add those back in. You can't shift the course sideways because there wouldn't be enough land, Doonbeg would literally cease to exist. It would be a travesty if that happened."

On his father's presidential bid, Eric said: "My father jumped into this race because he wants to save America from some of the things it is not doing right. He wants to win for the right reasons."

Asked about the heavy criticism his father has received from some quarters, he said: "On a human level, you never want to see your father attacked. I am the first person who wants to jump through the TV sometimes and shake somebody, especially when they are mis-categorising something.

"You want to shake people. He has put $50m into the campaign, plus devoted months of his life and put aside his whole business to do something noble. That is a pretty selfless act."

Asked if his father's comments in relation to Mexicans and Muslims have affected the business, he said: "The hotels are doing better than ever.

"It is very easy to say, 'his views on Muslims and views on Mexicans'. There is a much bigger picture than categorising it like that.

"It is really views his on illegal immigration and that is the biggest issue that faces America.

"At the southern border, where you have tens and tens of thousands of people crossing every day and they are carrying heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine, that is getting through and it is affecting the youth, it is affecting family structure and it is affecting society and causing massive problems, massive violence, massive addiction.

"My father was the first one to say something about this and we need to handle the wall and the southern border. My mom is an immigrant, there is no one as close to immigration as us.

"At the same time, you need to know who is coming into the country and you need to know damn sure, they are doing not bad things like bringing in those drugs.But if you are about to accept 200,000 Syrian refugees and you don't know who they are and you can't vet them and our intelligence agencies are saying, 'There are bad people in here and we know them to be linked with Isil and al-Qa'ida', that is a real problem. You know what they are going to do when they come over to the US."

Asked if it is hurtful when his father is described as a racist, he said: "That is the leftist line. Anyone who disagrees with them is racist; that has been part of the Democratic playbook for the last 50 years. Unfortunately, that is the name of the game."

Irish Independent

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