Trump contacted Noonan over Doonbeg golf resort plans

US businessman spoke to Minister for Finance after closing €15m deal for links and hotel

Businessman Donald Trump at Shannon Airport. Photograph: Sean Curtin

Businessman Donald Trump at Shannon Airport. Photograph: Sean Curtin

Wed, May 14, 2014, 01:03


Minister for Finance Michael Noonan was personally contacted by Donald Trump over the entrepreneur’s business plans following his purchase of Doonbeg golf course in Co Clare.

Mr Noonan granted a request from Mr Trump to speak to the Minister regarding his proposals for Ireland, the Department of Finance said.

However, it was stressed the phone call took place after the Trump organisation had finalised a reported €15 million deal for the purchase of the golf course and hotel.

A spokesman for Mr Noonan said Mr Trump’s representatives contacted the Minister’s officials about arranging a phone call between the two men, which duly took place.


‘Red tape’
While local political sources said Mr Trump had concerns about environmental rules in Doonbeg, such as “red tape” surrounding rock protection and repairs to storm damage at the course, Mr Noonan’s office could not say whether he had raised such issues with the Minister.

Earlier this month Mr Trump was granted permission to shore up some of the greens on the golf course after being served with a stop-work order after lorries of rock armour arrived at Doonbeg.

While Mr Noonan’s spokesman could not say if this was discussed, he said Mr Trump informed the Minister of his future business plans in Ireland.

There were raised eyebrows earlier this week when Mr Noonan was part of a welcoming party for Mr Trump at Shannon Airport, which also saw a red carpet, a harpist and a singer greet the businessman as he descended from his private Boeing 757, emblazoned with his logo.

Mr Trump said he is considering more investments in Ireland and Mr Noonan, based in Limerick, is most powerful political figure in the southwest region. Mr Trump has also hinted that he hopes to extend the golf course across EU-protected conservation sites across the Doonbeg site.


Special areas of conservation
Some special areas of conservation (SAC) were omitted from the original course, which is also close to some special protection areas (SPA).

Mr Trump said he is “talking to the environmental authorities” about the Greg Norman-designed course. There are also tens of millions of Vertigo Angustior snails on the course but Mr Trump said his organisation has a “very good relationship with the people involved with the snail”.

The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht said the National Parks and Wildlife Service is working “closely” with Doonbeg’s new owners to “ensure that any proposed works are only undertaken where there is no risk to the ongoing conservation of the sites”.

“On foot of a recent request for works to be undertaken as part of the management agreement, some works on the site, outside the SAC and SPA, have been agreed,” it said.