Donald Trump agrees Doonbeg conservation deal

Donald Trump has arrived in Ireland

The 18th green at Doonbeg Golf Club in County Clare. Inset: Donald Trump. Photo: Arthur Ellis.

thumbnail: Donald Trump has arrived in Ireland
thumbnail: The 18th green at Doonbeg Golf Club in County Clare. Inset: Donald Trump. Photo: Arthur Ellis.
Ed Carty

TYCOON Donald Trump has struck a deal to carry out work on a protected dune system running alongside his luxury golf resort in the west of Ireland.

The US property mogul, who added the Turnberry Open Championship course in Scotland to his portfolio last month, has got the go-ahead from council chiefs to shore up the famous 14th green on the Doonbeg course.

The Trump organisation had been served with a stop-work order earlier this year after lorry-loads of rock armour began to arrive on the Co Clare beauty spot, which is protected by strict environmental concerns for a microscopic snail.

Four holes on the €15 million 450-acre course, now known as Trump International Golf Links, Ireland, were seriously damaged in violent winter storms which devastated swathes of the Atlantic coast.

The renowned green on the par three 14th was among several parts of the course left at risk after waves left it exposed to a perilously steep slope on one side of a single dune.

But the initial work was halted as Doonbeg is home to a tiny snail which has been around since the Ice Age - the narrow-mouth whorl snail, or angustior vertigo, which measures about 0.9mm wide and 1.8mm in height.

After talks with the Trump organisation and technical experts brought in to the club, Clare County Council and the National Parks and Wildlife Service announced they have agreed to "a programme of works to remediate the golf course".

In a statement, they said there had been extensive and very positive engagement with Mr Trump and the experts employed at Doonbeg.

"The enforcement notice has been withdrawn by the council, as it is no longer relevant," a spokesman for the council said.

"The council looks forward to a continuing positive relationship with the Trump company and its advisers so that the fabulous asset of Doonbeg golf course and associated facilities can continue to flourish into the future."

During negotiations with the council, the resort's management erected temporary sand trap fences and planted marram grass to act as a natural barrier to erosion.

Mr Trump hired golf course designer Martin Hawtree to work on Doonbeg and prevent further damage from the sea at four holes - the fifth, ninth, 14th and 18th.

As well as the existing environmental concerns and rules the Trump organisation is obliged to abide by, there is also a right of way used by surfers through the 15th hole on the course.

Mr Trump bought Doonbeg, designed originally by Greg Norman, from receivers at the start of the year.

He announced his latest investment in Scotland, the world-renowned Turnberry course, last month and vowed not to touch the course without the consent of golf's ruling body the Royal & Ancient.

He has been embroiled in bitter disputes over redevelopment of the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire and plans for a wind farm visible from a course on the coast.

Clare County Council said the works agreed will bring the golf course back to having 18 playable holes while a separate planning application has also been lodged for "soft" coastal protection measures.