Wednesday 16 January 2019

Environmentalist set to challenge Trump's sea wall

U.S. President Donald Trump. Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump. Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Tim Healy

An environmentalist has secured leave from the High Court to challenge planning permission for a sea wall at US President Donald Trump's golf club at Doonbeg.

Just four days before Christmas last year, Clare County Council gave permission to build a sea wall to stop part of the course at the Doonbeg Golf Club being eroded by the Atlantic.

The approval was granted despite opposition from An Taisce, Friends of the Irish Environment and others.

However, the plan - which involves building a 38,000 tonne rock barrier to protect three holes at the course "as a matter of urgency" - had the backing of the local community in Doonbeg.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Seamus Noonan granted environmentalist Peter Sweetman permission to legally challenge the granting of planning permission and also put a stay on any appeal before An Bord Pleanála.

The case is against the council. Trump International Golf Links Ireland Enterprises Ltd, An Bord Pleanála and the Department of Culture are notice parties.

In an affidavit, Mr Sweetman, from Rossport, Ballina, Co Mayo, said the development will include excavation of existing sand and cobbles currently on the beach being used to form a dune profile over a distance of 609 metres at the northern end of Doughmore Bay, west of the golf course.

He said notwithstanding the considerable number of submissions and reports where alleged deficiencies in the information presented were set out in detail, the council granted permission on December 21, 2017.

Mr Sweetman said he had read all the documents publicly available and online and he could find no appropriate assessment or any reference to an appropriate assessment having been carried out.

He said this is a development which by virtue of its location in an extremely environmentally sensitive location requires a full-stage appropriate assessment before the granting of planning permission.

Mr Justice Noonan, granting leave to seek judicial review, adjourned the case to May 1.

Irish Independent

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