Saturday 18 November 2017

Survival of snail is par for the course

Gordon Deegan

THE population of a tiny, protected snail at a Greg Norman-designed golf course in the west has increased six-fold.

More than 60 million snails known as 'Vertigo Angustior' live at Doonbeg golf course in Co Clare. This means there are more of the snails living on the course than are present in most countries.

Leading snail expert Dr Evelyn Moorkens has monitored the management by Doonbeg golf club of the 1.8mm-long snail for the past 10 years.

She said yesterday: "The snail is thriving at the course and what has occurred at Doonbeg is a model in terms of sustainable development and I can't think of another instance where the notion of sustainable development, as understood in the EU Habitats Directive, has been embraced so much."

The presence of the snail at the course held up its construction in 2000 after Tony Lowes of the Friends of the Irish Environment took a High Court action seeking to ensure the conservation of the snail.

The protection of the snail was the subject of a High Court settlement with Mr Lowes and was also one part of the conditions of planning granted by An Bord Pleanala.

Dr Moorkens was commenting yesterday about a report lodged by her on the snail to Clare County Council concerning a plan by the golf club for the retention of a contentious wall at the course.

Dr Moorkens said: "The management by the golf club of the snail has been superb."

Irish Independent

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