An Irish environmentalist group is seeking to prevent Donald Trump to build a seawall to protect his Doonbeg Lodge and Golf Resort
in County Clare, on Ireland’s scenic western shore. Trump International has applied for permission to build a limestone wall along a nearly two-mile stretch, measuring nearly 50 feet wide and 15 feet tall to protect the links from falling into the Atlantic Ocean. The Friends of the Irish Environment claims that such a wall will “kill the dune system” and endanger a tiny snail that inhabits the area.
In 2014, storms eroded sand dunes along the coastline by as much as 19 to 26 feet in some places.
FIE attorney Tony Lowes said, “The plan flies in the face of widespread international recognition of the desirability of increasing sand mobility and allowing dune systems to adjust in a more natural manner to increasing pressures of climate change. Not only would this wall fossilise the dunes behind it, but it would prevent the sand from the eroding dunes reaching the beach, starving the beach of its natural nourishment.”
FIE says that EU directives prohibit “any construction on the dune system.” “If permission were to be granted for this monstrous proposal, there is no doubt that the European Commission would bring an action against Ireland for damaging the protected site, potentially leading to fines of €25,000 to €30,000 a day from the European Court of Justice – fines that the Irish taxpayer would have to pay – not Mr. Trump,” he said.
Ireland’s National Parks and Wildlife Service had initially opposed the building of the course back in 2014, but ultimately allowed its construction.
Trump recently mentioned his Irish holdings while giving a speech in New York to his supporters. He purchase a hotel at Doonbeg for a reported $9.9 million, and has since invested $16.3 million. The economy in Doonbeg has been boosted, reportedly, by $15.7 million. The Doonbeg Lodge and Golf Course sits on 400 acres.
The Doonbeg facility is in the running to hold the Irish Open golf tournament, which would garner some $41.2 million for the western Clare, one of Ireland’s traditionally poorest regions, between 2017 and 2024 if the sea wall can be built.
Trump’s Doonbeg hotel and golf course is the second largest employer in west Clare, having put to work some 200 people in Ireland. "We've had so much publicity so far but imagine if he got into the White House, that publicity would jump 10-fold and be great for the place," said John O'Dea, chairman of the Doonbeg Community Development group, to the Irish Independent. The purchase of the resort during Ireland’s economic slump brought welcome construction business and tourism to the region.
Trump’s investment in the hotel and golf course has meant increased profits for small local businesses such as pubs and restaurants.
Since buying the hotel during Ireland's economic slump, Trump International Hotel in Doonbeg has brought great business to the town in terms of construction work and through an increase in tourists. Locals told Irish media that the resort has been “fantastic” for little Doonbeg and “hugely beneficial.” Some pointed out that without the resort, young people would have to leave their native village.
A woman identified by IrishCentral as ‘Siobhán cited the 200 jobs maintained by the resort. She said, “It's all well and good to talk about politics and the White House, but people here need to keep the bills paid and a roof over their head. Trump's money keeps them in West Clare.” She continued, “I don't like him but, like most locals, I like his money."
Trump’s consultants have warned the Clare County Council that permission for the wall must come, otherwise further investment is in jeopardy. In their application to the local planners, Trump’s consultants said that a refusal would mean "a permanent and profound negative economic impact" on the area. They added, "The failure to protect this asset would have a profound adverse and permanent effect on the local economy." A final decision on the wall will be made by An Bord Pleanála (Ireland’s planning authority) on April 18.
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