"We're bringing the Trump factor to Ireland, " Donald Trump snr said last night, announcing his firm's "major investment" in the golf resort at Doonbeg, Co Clare.
Mr Trump told The Irish Times he plans to spend "far, far in excess" of the reported €15 million he paid for the golf course, but wouldn't name a final sum. The flamboyant billionaire and star of the US reality TV show The Apprentice said: "The Irish employees are ecstatic. We're getting emails all day from Ireland and we're going to create a lot of jobs."
Mr Trump snr, speaking from New York, said: “It’s a very special piece of land on the Atlantic. A lot wanted it, but we will do a better job. All of my clubs are highly successful and Ireland will be too.
“We love Ireland. We’ve been there many times and Ireland has treated us well,” he added.
Mr Trump acquired the resort after it was put into receivership last month on foot of debts associated with properties on the site. The 400-acre resort will be developed in the long term, though precisely how is yet to be decided.
His son, Donald Trump jnr, told The Irish Times that he first fell in love with the place two years ago when he visited it along with a dozen other golf resorts. The executive vice-president of the Trump Organisation said Doonbeg was the last place he visited on a "whirlwind tour".
“After seeing Doonbeg I recall calling my father and afterwards thinking when I got back, ‘This is something that is really a Trump-type development’,” he said. “Of the two dozen [golf resorts] we saw this was the only one that resonated with me as being incredible.”
Mr Trump jnr said the deal to buy Doonbeg was a “quick process”. “We came to definitive documents and went hard on the deal fast,” he said. “It was done in about six days, albeit long and sleepless days.”
He declined to comment on the reported sale price of €15 million but said “in some of our places in Manhattan it wouldn’t get you an apartment”.
An investment by the Trump family in Ireland, he said, showed Ireland's economy was recovering. "We are value investors and the numbers have to make sense," he said. Mr Trump jnr said his business would also consider looking at other deals in Ireland and would consider opening a casino in Ireland if that was ever possible.
Mr Trump snr, whose personal fortune is estimated at $3.5 billion, also announced the Doonbeg resort will be renamed the “Trump International Golf Links, Ireland”.
The announcement of the purchase of Doonbeg came on the day that Mr Trump snr lost his legal action against Scottish authorities to prevent a major experimental offshore wind farm within view of his golf resort near Aberdeenshire. "It was only a skirmish, we haven't lost the battle," he said.
"Wind farms are a disaster for Scotland, like Pan Am 103 [the 1988 bombing of a US bound flight]. They make people sick with the continuous noise. They're an abomination and are only sustained with government subsidy," he said. "Scotland is in the middle of a revolution against wind farms. People don't want them near their homes ruining property values," he said.