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Locals fear Trump may pull out of Doonbeg after planning permission denied for coastal wall at golf course

Independent Clare TD Michael McNamara stated that he was “very concerned” over the An Bord Pleanála’s decision.

Trump's helicopter on a visit to the Clare resort
Trump's helicopter on a visit to the Clare resort
Image: Brian Lawelss/PA Images

THERE ARE FEARS now among locals in Doonbeg that the Trump organisation may pull out of Doonbeg.

That is according to local business-woman, Rita McInerney who said on Wednesday that she is “devastated” over the An Bord Pleanala decision to refuse planning permission to Trump Doonbeg’s contentious plans for coastal protection works for the west Clare links course.

The ruling by An Bord Pleanala overturns a decision made by Clare County Council in December 2017 to give the Trump firm the go-ahead for 38,000 tonnes of rock to be placed in front of the course at Doughmore beach.

McInerney stated: “I’m shocked, upset and surprised at the decision and I’ve been in touch with others here today and there is a real fear locally that Trump may now pull out of Doonbeg”.

In response to the appeals board ruling, General Manager of Trump Doonbeg, Joe Russell said: “We are very disappointed and are considering our options.”

McInerney – who unsuccessfully contested the recent general election for Fianna Fail in Clare – stated that the refusal now also places a question mark over the €40 million plan granted planning permission at Trump Doonbeg last October.

The €40 million plan includes 53 holiday homes, a ballroom/function room, a leisure centre and a new restaurant.

Chairman of the Doonbeg Community Development Co and local farmer, John Flanagan staled that the An Bord Pleanála decision “has ripped the heart out of us”.

Flanagan stated that he fears the long-term consequences of the decision is to make the resort unviable to run.

He said: “If that happens, it will destroy west Clare with 300 jobs lost.”

He stated: “I’m absolutely gutted. No one objected locally to this and I’m horrified that people in Dublin couldn’t see the benefit of what was planned.”

Plans for first lodged in December 2016 and the Trump company, TIGL Ireland Enterprises Limited had warned that a ‘do nothing’ scenario “will bring the viability of the entire resort and its potential closure into question”.

Now, in its ruling, the appeals board has stated that it is not satisfied that the proposed development would not result in adverse effects on the physical structure, functionality and sediment supply of dune habitat within the Carrowmore Dunes Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

The appeals board further stated that it is precluded from granting planning permission as it was not satisfied beyond reasonable scientific doubt that the proposed development would not adversely affect the integrity of the Carrowmore Dunes SAC in view of the site’s conservation objectives.

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The proposal enjoyed local support in Doonbeg but the case came before the board after a number of parties appealed and they include well-known environmental, Peter Sweetman, Friends of the Irish Environment, An Taisce, the Save Doughmore-Doonbeg Beach Community Group and the Save the Waves Coalition.

The Doonbeg company told the appeals board if the natural erosion process is allowed to continue on the SAC at the site it would result in a loss of 36% of the dune habitat over a 50 year period.

Ian Lumley of An Taisce welcomed the decision.

He stated: “This is an important vindication of the need to have an independent national planning appeals body making decisions on a scientific and ecological basis. The golf resort at Doonbeg now needs to work with nature in the future in maintaining the structure and ecological integrity of the dune system.”

However, independent Clare TD, Michael McNamara stated that he was “very concerned” over the board’s decision.

He stated: “We need to look very carefully at this decision to see how the dunes and the golf course, as well as farms and homes behind these dunes can be protected in a manner compatible with the environment.”

He added: “There simply has to be a way to do so, particularly as much stone, which formed a natural barrier, was removed for roadworks in previous decades,”

About the author:

Gordon Deegan

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