€40m expansion of Trump's Doonbeg resort gets go-ahead
Plan includes 53 holiday homes and restaurant
Donald Trump's Doonbeg golf resort has been granted planning permission for a €40m development that includes 53 holiday homes, a ballroom, leisure centre and new restaurant.
The green light was yesterday hailed by locals as "a massive vote of confidence in west Clare".
Clare County Council granted planning permission for the new development that is set to employ up to 100 people at its peak.
As part of the 19 conditions attached to the grant of permission, the Trump Doonbeg resort must pay €391,054 toward public infrastructure.
John Flanagan, chairman of the Doonbeg Community Development Company, said: "We are delighted that the project has been approved. This is a massive vote of confidence in west Clare".
The local farmer, whose land borders the golf course, said the project "underlines the commitment of the Trump organisation to further invest in west Clare. The resort is now vital for the long term viability of the area".
Local businesswoman Rita McInerney said that the decision by the council "is a huge boost for the area".
The Fianna Fáil general election candidate said the new leisure centre and function room would help to lengthen the season at Trump Doonbeg.
"The season is quite limited at the moment," Ms McInerney said.
"While there may be 300 employed at the resort during the summer, this reduces to less than 100 during the winter months, so the likes of the leisure centre will help sustain more jobs over the winter months."
The council gave the proposal the go-ahead having regard to the nature and scale of the proposed development and the established use of the existing golf club and hotel.
Joe Russell, general manager at Trump Doonbeg, said: "We have received the planning approval from Clare County Council with attached conditions and are reviewing this with our Trump colleagues at the moment.
"Upon finalising that review we will then consider forward plans regarding the development."
The proposal - unlike the resort's more contentious coastal protection works scheme which is currently before An Bord Pleanála - faced opposition from only one party, the Dublin-based environmentalist Peter Sweetman.
Mr Sweetman can get the plan put on hold if he decides to lodge an appeal to An Bord Pleanála.
The environmental campaigner has already stalled the coastal protection plan in the High Court for a number of months last year before it was returned to the appeals board for adjudication.
A decision on that plan - first lodged in December 2016 - is due in December.
Ms McInerney added: "I don't believe that individuals who have no connection to an area and won't be impacted by a development should be allowed to stall developments in the planning process.
"We are a very engaged community and would not have given the plan our support without thoroughly examining the application first."
Mr Sweetman was contacted for comment.
However, he was attending a planning hearing yesterday and was not in a position to provide comment.