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Fáilte Ireland raised concerns with Doonbeg wind farm months after Varadkar email

Fáilte Ireland said that the development could have an impact on tourism along the Wild Atlantic Way.

Image: RollingNews.ie

FÁILTE IRELAND OBJECTED to a planning application to build a wind farm in Doonbeg, Co Clare seven months after Leo Varadkar contacted the tourism agency to relay Donald Trump’s concerns over the proposal.

During his first visit to the White House for St Patrick’s Day, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar alluded to a phone call he received from businessman Donald Trump in 2014 about a proposed wind farm at Doonbeg, where the US President’s golf course is located.

Varadkar, who was Minister for Transport and Tourism at the time, then emailed Fáilte Ireland about Trump’s concerns in February 2014.

In September that year, Fáilte Ireland said in its submission to Clare County Council that despite the proposal’s scaled back resubmission, it had “remaining concerns” on what impact the wind farm could have on tourism in the area, as there already were two other wind farms at Moanmore and Tullabrack.

Clare Co Co submission Source: Clare County Council

It continued to outline a number of impacts the development could have on the area from a tourism perspective:

“The key impacts arising from any proposed development are: construction related impacts during the construction period; and impacts arising from the development and operational life of the facility.

“Taking these point by point, the significance of these potential impacts – purely from the point of tourism, is assessed.”

It said that the aim of the Wild Atlantic Way was to develop a tourist attraction that will enhance the visibility of the Irish west coast. But it said that this proposed new wind farm, coupled with the two others already in the area could impact on that.

“It is submitted to Clare County Council that the incremental proliferation of wind farm developments within this area of the county will detract from initiatives such as the Wild Atlantic Way and the existing and significant tourism resource of this area.”

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A number of other submissions were also made in relation to the wind farm, including from locals, environmental groups, and Trump’s company TIGL Ireland Enterprises Ltd.

Although the Taoiseach has downplayed the phone call, referring to it as a joke last night, opposition politicians have asked him to clarify what the aim of it was and whether it played an important part in the rejection of the application to build the wind farm.

The plan was for a development 2km south of Doonbeg village, including nine electricity generating wind turbines with an overall height of up to 126m; hardstandings; a control building; an electrical compound; a permanent meteorological mast; associated site roads; drainage and site works.

The development, known as the Shragh Wind Farm, was proposed by Clare Coastal Wind Power Ltd (you can view the planning application here).

Read: ‘I’m happy to clarify’: Varadkar says he was just joking about Trump and Doonbeg

Read: Clare council says Leo Varadkar made no official intervention over Doonbeg wind farm

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