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Planning activist puts brakes on Trump Doonbeg 38,000 tonne rock barrier plan

Peter Sweetman is a son of a former Finance Minister Gerald Sweetman and has previously been at the forefront of campaigns opposing Shell Corrib pipeline plans.

Golfers walk along the coastal path on the Doonbeg Golf Links course and hotel in Co Clare
Golfers walk along the coastal path on the Doonbeg Golf Links course and hotel in Co Clare
Image: Niall Carson via PA Images

A HIGH PROFILE planning activist has put the brakes on plans for the 38,000 tonne rock barrier at the President Donald Trump owned Trump Doonbeg golf resort in west Clare.

This follows objector, Peter Sweetman lodging an appeal against the decision by Clare Co Council to give the contentious plan the go ahead.

Today, Sweetman declared: “I am a NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) and Ireland is my back yard.”

Sweetman is a son of a former Fine Gael Minister for Finance, Gerald Sweetman and has previously been at the forefront of campaigns opposing Shell Corrib pipeline plans in Co Mayo along with raising concerns over a host of large road schemes, wind-farm projects and waste to energy plants.

He confirmed that he has around 10 Judicial Review applications to the High Court of An Bord Pleanala decisions relating to various planning applications.

Sweetman said today: “I don’t object. I make submissions and claim to have improved many developments.”

Sweetman said that his opposition to the rock barrier at Doonbeg “is about the Habitats Directive, the law and Doonbeg golf course – not me”.

In the immediate aftermath of the decision by Clare Co Council last month, Doonbeg farmer, John Flanagan urged objectors not to appeal the decision. He said:

It is our lands and our livelihood. The plan is only trying to protect the hills from being washed away. Let us live here with the consequences of the decision. It is the best shot we have here.

Asked to respond to Flanagan’s comments, Sweetman said: “I don’t think that Mr. Flanagan has read the application.”

Sweetman said: “I believe in the law. The Habitats Directive is law.”

Sweetman is a long time opponent of the golf course and represented Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) at the An Bord Pleanala oral hearing 19 years ago in 1999 where the previous owners of the golf course secured planning permission for the resort.

In his appeal on behalf of Wild Ireland, the Rathmines based Peter Sweetman & Associates claims that the decision by the council to grant is fundamentally flawed in law and that the appeals board is precluded in law from granting planning permission.

Flanagan said yesterday that he is ‘disappointed’ that an appeal has been lodged against the decision.

Doing nothing about the dunes will have detrimental consequences down the road. Who is going to come to our aid when the hills are washed away?

Flanagan said that if An Bord Pleanala decides to hold an oral hearing “I will be there supporting the plan because I will want on the record that I stood up for the area.”

In an interview earlier this week, General Manager of Trump Doonbeg, Joe Russell said that the coastal protection works are “critical to the future of this business, its growth, sustainability and economic impact locally and in the region”.

Russell said that the resort is planning to build leisure facilities.

He said however: “Coastal protection must be completed first to ensure any asset that is invested and built is protected.”

Other third parties are expected to appeal the council decision to An Bord Pleanala and have until 26 January to do so.

Read: Head of Housing Agency who said homeless families may be ‘gaming the system’ reappointed for another year>

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About the author:

Gordon Deegan

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