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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 20 February, 2019
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Doonbeg 'buzzing' after businessman Donald Trump voted US President

It’s been an eventful morning in the west Co Clare village – with a lot more activity to come.

Trump in golf conservation deal Source: Niall Carson

DOONBEG, CO CLARE was buzzing with activity this morning, with six different TV news crews descending on the small village to document the local reaction to an international event.

“It’s been hectic this morning,” said one local. “It’s huge to have a US President own a golf course on your doorstep. Hopefully it will attract people to the area.”

President Elect Donald Trump owns a golf course perched on the shores of Doonbeg, which was named the 2013 Condé Nast Traveller’s No 1 resort in Europe.

As Joe Russell, managing director of Trump International Golf Links came into work this morning, he was greeted with floods of emails and texts from staff at the golf course and locals “caught up in the euphoria”.

Last night Donald J Trump beat the predictions, the polls, and the experienced Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to be voted in as the 45th President of the United States.

Trump visit to UK and Ireland Source: Niall Carson

Russell says that this announcement will be a “huge positive” for the area, and has already received a call from Shannon Airport who he says are “thrilled” with the result.

“At a meeting last week we were chatting about [his chances], and some people thought he’d win, some others didn’t.

Last night we were up all night watching it, and as the traditional battleground results came in, the excitement started to build.

Russell says that since the summer, he has been in direct contact with Donald’s son Eric Trump, as there are certain restrictions around business ownership once someone becomes US president.

But he is unsure of the exact arrangement around the blind trust that Trump’s businesses must be placed in, and whether Donald Trump’s children will be allowed to continue to run the business.

“Come to think of it Eric hasn’t called me in the past few months,” he says.

When asked whether they would tailor events at the hotel – such as the upcoming Doonbeg Christmas Market – to be Trump-themed, Russell gave an emphatic no, saying that the event was for the locals and would remain that way.

However, he said that “we might organise something for his inauguration”.

Trump in golf conservation deal Source: Niall Carson

“It’s been an eventful morning,” says John O’Dea, chairman of Doonbeg Community Development.

He said that he certainly welcomes the announcement of Donald Trump as President Elect of the United States – and said it was doubly-welcome because of his running mate, Mike Pence, who has connections to the area.

When you look at his business, it’s a fabulous golf course. There were talks of expanding the resort and building a conference centre, which is much more likely now he’s president.

When asked was he worried about the reaction there would be to the more controversial elements of Trump’s campaign, in particular Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s previous stance that Trump’s comments were “racist and dangerous”, O’Dea said “he was sure there would be time to clear the air”.

When listening to the acceptance speech he gave, I was really taken into it altogether. He does seem serious about healing wounds and working with people of different attitudes.

He says that this direct link to the US President would do wonders for tourism in the area – particularly now during the traditionally quiet tourism season.

With all the hectic attention on the village and the prospect of a Presidential visit in the “not too distant future”, O’Dea isn’t worried about the attention ruining the peaceful area.

“No, the more the merrier!” he says.

Read: What made Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ slogan so powerful?

Read: What President Trump means for Irish businesses and the economy

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