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Friday 17 August 2018

Trump golf resort gets go-ahead for rock barrier to protect dunes

Eric Trump at the Doonbeg resort. Photo: Arthur Ellis.
Eric Trump at the Doonbeg resort. Photo: Arthur Ellis.

Gordon Deegan

Plans for a rock barrier to protect parts of the Doonbeg golf links resort owned by Donald Trump in west Clare have been given the go-ahead.

Clare County Council has given the green light to the plan in spite of opposition from An Taisce, Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE), the West Coast Surf Club and others.

However, the plan - which involves a 38,000 tonne rock barrier to protect "as a matter of urgency" holes one, nine and 18 at the course - has the full backing of the local community in Doonbeg.

In its decision, the council said the planned development would not be likely to have a significant impact on any European nature conservation site, and would not significantly affect the amenities of the area, in particular the Carrowmore Dunes, the White Strand and Doughmore Bay.

The council made its decision having regard to the nature and scale of the proposed development, the established use and amenity of the existing golf club and hotel, and the proximity of the site to designated European nature conservation sites.

The plan comprises placing limestone rock armour protection in front of the three holes at the northern and southern end of the beach. It will involve the installation of sheet piling in front of the three holes that will be hidden from view, along with a 10-metre band of rock armour that will be covered and seeded with marram grass.

General manager of Trump Doonbeg Joe Russell said: "We are very pleased with this decision and would like to thank Clare County Council for their foresight in granting this application. This decision demonstrates the council's commitment to support local business and protect the economic future of the region."

Local farmer and long-time supporter of the Trump barrier plan, John Flanagan, said last night he was "delighted' with the decision.

"It is great that an agency like Clare County Council recognises what we have been saying - that the dunes are in trouble and that they need protection."

Mr Flanagan urged objectors not to appeal the decision. He said: "It is our lands and our livelihood. Let us live here with the consequences of the decision. It is the best shot we have here."

However, Tony Loves of FIE confirmed the group would be appealing the decision to An Bord Pleanála.

He said the group was "in shock" over the ruling.

"We relied on the best international scientific advice which said, with absolute certainty, that proposed seawalls will destroy the beach in front of them and will increase the rate of erosion on adjacent beaches.

"The decision must be appealed as the populist precedent it sets ushers in the growing new dark age of climate sceptics and anti-science that threatens far more than a single sand dune system on the Wild Atlantic Way."

Commenting on the planning application earlier this year, Donald Trump's son Eric said the resort "is the lifeblood of hundreds of employees".

Irish Independent

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