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Donald Trump's 'Irish wall' could be in trouble

The US presidential hopeful wants to build a €10 million rock barrier to protect his county Clare golf course.

Doonbeg
Doonbeg
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire

DONALD TRUMP’S CONTROVERSIAL €10 million rock barrier plan for his Doonbeg golf links resort has received a setback which could lead to the Clare resort’s eventual closure.

A submission to Clare County Council by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht - which is charged with protecting the country’s EU designated Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) sites – said a case has not been made by applicants TIGL Enterprises Ireland Ltd that the 2.8km 200,000-tonne rock barrier is warranted.

The department also said that it cannot be ruled out that the proposal will lead to the unfavourable conservation condition of at least three important features of the SAC at the site and result in adverse effects on the integrity of at least one EU protected site at Doonbeg.

Consultants acting for Donald Trump have previously warned that if the US billionaire doesn’t secure planning for the rock ‘berm’ to protect his Doonbeg golf resort, the resort risks potential closure.

The application area of the Trump plan is located within and adjacent to the Carrowmore Dunes SAC and the site is designated due to three different dune types and the protected 2mm snail, the Vertigo Angustior.

PastedImage-77430 Source: Wikipedia Commons

The application has attracted over 110 submissions and enjoys overwhelming support in the local Doonbeg community.

Surfer objections

However, An Taisce, Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE), the Save Doughmore Beach Protection Group, surfer groups and over 30 individuals living outside Doonbeg have objected to the plan.

In its 10-page submission, the department states that “the key concern in this case is the likely effects of the proposed development on the dunes and their area and structure and function in the long term”.

It adds that the dune habitats at Doonbeg “occur in a complex mosaic and maintaining the natural dynamism of the site is a vital part of achieving favourable conservation status for the range of dune habitats present”.

GOP 2016 Trump Source: AP/Press Association Images

The submission states that “the construction of physical barriers can interfere with the sediment supply to entire dune systems by cutting the dunes off from the beach”.

This can result in fossilisation of over-stabilisation of the dunes and in the loss or reduction in area of embryonic or shifting dunes.

The department also states that with the Trump plan “not only is there potential for the structure to impede or alter sediment movement, its construction will remove a large volume of local beach material from circulation”.

Important intervention

Submissions from the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht carry substantial weight in how councils decide on applications and in the submission, the department states “the case has not been made to prove that the rates, patterns and causes of erosion at the site warrant the type and scale of the solution proposed”.

The submission adds:

A robust case should be made with the necessary supporting scientific evidence to support the need for the proposed development taking other developments at the site and previous environmental assessments into account as well as other options for negating the threat from erosion e.g, relocation of features away from the eroding front of the dunes.

It adds that the Trump’s firm’s contention that a ‘do nothing’ scenario would have a profound negative and permanent effect upon the conservation status of the SAC are contrary to the conservation objectives for the SAC.

The department has also questioned the validity of the Trump company’s claims on future erosion at the site.

A decision is due on the application next month but due to the scale of the proposal, a request for further information on the plan is likely.

More: Enda Kenny receives US Vice President Joe Biden in Dublin

About the author:

Gordon Deegan

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