Friday 6 December 2019

Donald Trump: 'Now I couldn't care less about Doonbeg'

Trump's International Golf Links and Hotel in Doonbeg
Trump's International Golf Links and Hotel in Doonbeg Newsdesk Newsdesk

INCOMING US President Donald Trump Trump has cited planning difficulties at his golf course in Doonbeg in Co Clare as an example of EU bureaucracy.

In a joint interview with the Times of London and the German newspaper Bild, Trump also said the European Union had become "a vehicle for Germany" and predicted that more EU member states would vote to leave the bloc as Britain did last June.

Donald Trump pictured at Doonbeg in west Clare. Photo: Kip Carroll
Donald Trump pictured at Doonbeg in west Clare. Photo: Kip Carroll

"I own a big property in Ireland, magnificent property called Doonbeg," he said when discussing EU bureaucracy. 

"What happened is I went for an approval to do this massive, beautiful expansion - that was when I was a developer, now I couldn't care less about it . . . but I learnt a lot because . . . they were using environmental tricks to stop a project from being built. I found it to be a very unpleasant experience.

"To get the approvals from the EU would have taken years.

"I don't think that's good for a country like Ireland.

Trump International Golf Links and Hotel Ireland in Doonbeg, Co Clare
Trump International Golf Links and Hotel Ireland in Doonbeg, Co Clare

"So you know what I did? I said forget it, I'm not gonna build it."

Another area of potential note for Ireland was Mr Trump's discussion on trade.

As well as tariffs, Mr Trump vowed to work to bring back taxable income from giant US corporations based in Europe. Some major firms such as Google are headquartered in Ireland.

“I think we have five trillion dollars over there,” he said. “It is a part of our tax law. The money will come back.”

In a wide-ranging interview, Mr Trump disclosed:

*He wants a new arms control agreement with Russia, saying the numbers of nuclear weapons should be "reduced very substantially".

*Orders will be signed next Monday strengthening America's borders which could include travel restrictions on Europeans coming to the US as well as "extreme vetting" of those entering from parts of the world known for Islamist terrorism

*He believes chancellor Angela Merkel made a "catastrophic mistake" when she threw open Germany's borders to hundreds of thousands of migrants.

In his first European interviews since becoming president-elect, Mr Trump identified the refugee crisis as one of the key factors driving the Brexit vote.

"I think she made one very catastrophic mistake, and that was taking all of these illegals," Trump said of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who in August 2015 decided to keep Germany's borders open for refugees, mostly Muslims, fleeing war zones in the Middle East.

"And nobody even knows where they come from. So I think she made a catastrophic mistake, very bad mistake," Trump said, adding that he always had "great respect" for Merkel and that he still viewed her as one of the most important world leaders.

Merkel faces a tough re-election battle in September.

Trump, who takes office on Friday, campaigned for president on promises of banning Muslims from entering the United States or imposing more severe restrictions on migrants from countries or regions with high levels of militant Islamist activity.

Trump said Germany had only recently gotten a clear impression of the consequences of Merkel's migration policy, without elaborating.

Last month, a 24-year-old Tunisian failed asylum-seeker drove a truck into a Berlin Christmas market, killing 12 people, before fleeing to Italy, where he was shot dead by police.

The attacker, Anis Amri, came to Germany in July 2015 after having spent four years in jail in Italy. That means he entered Europe before Merkel's August 2015 border decision.

In the interview, Trump said British voters would not have approved leaving the European Union had Europe not been engulfed in a migrant crisis.

"I do believe this, if they (the EU countries) hadn't been forced to take in all of the refugees, so many ... I think that you wouldn't have a Brexit," Trump said.

"It probably could have worked out but this was the final straw, this was the final straw that broke the camel's back."

In the interview, Trump said the United States will impose a border tax of 35 percent on cars that German carmaker BMW plans to build at a new plant in Mexico and export to the U.S. market

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