Trump Doonbeg visit helps to increase resort revenues to €11.99 million for 2019

Resort paid over €100,000 for catering for gardaí protecting president on two-night stay

The visit by US president Donald Trump last year to his luxury Co Clare golf resort contributed to revenues increasing to €11.99 million for 2019.

New accounts for the company behind Trump Doonbeg show a 71-fold increase in operating profits to €209,858 as revenues increased by 4.5 per cent from €11.47 million to €11.99 million.

The Trump organisation purchased the resort for a knock-down price in 2014 and since then Mr Trump has visited seven times.

The most high-profile visit was in June last year, his only visit to Ireland while president of the United States.

The two-night visit provided a windfall for the resort when it received €107,625 for providing food and catering to gardaí on overtime protecting the president. Overtime payments of €7.48 million were paid out to 3,820 gardaí in connection with the visit.

General manager at the resort, Joe Russell, said in the aftermath of the visit last year that the resort must follow US government protocol and a strict mandate for visits by Mr Trump to ensure "we do not make a profit from the presidency".

The new accounts for TIGL Ireland Enterprises Ltd show the firm recorded a pre-tax loss of €1.378 million for 2019 due to non-cash depreciation and amortisation costs of €1.58 million. The pre-tax loss also arose from interest costs of €6,995 last year.

The pre-tax loss of €1.37 million last year was 8 per cent down on the pre-tax loss of €1.49 million in 2018.

Covid-19 closures

The Trump Organisation has ploughed more than €40 million, including the purchase price, into the resort since it came under the ownership of the Trump Organisation in February 2014.

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in two Government-enforced closures of the resort this year while international travel restrictions has decimated the resort’s US market for 2020.

A note attached to the accounts said the directors continue to monitor the situation closely “and have implemented strict cost-control measures to provide financial flexibility”. The company is working to protect its cash position and liquidity into the future.

The group “has the support of its related parties who have provided funding for capital improvements over the past number of years”, it said.

The impact of Covid-19 on the business into the future “will depend on the duration and spread of the outbreak and the related impact on consumer confidence and spending, all of which are highly uncertain in the current environment”.

The directors believe the business has sufficient liquidity and support to meet its obligations as they fall due.

Wage Subsidy Scheme

Statistics released by the Revenue Commissioners in October show that the Trump firm was one of the more than 66,500 companies here to benefit from financial supports for employees made through the Government’s Covid-19 Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme.

The new accounts show that last year, the Trump Organisation spent €923,811 in capital improvements at the resort and this followed a spend of €1.2m under the same heading in 2018.

According to the directors’ report, “the owner’s commitment to invest in its facilities over the past number of years has resulted in significant annual improvement to the group’s operating results before depreciation and tax”.

The resort is in the process of upgrading various facilities, and “it is expected that this will enhance the customer experience and have a positive impact on the group and the company’s operating results”.

Last year. the resort received a boost with Clare County Council granting planning permission for a €40 million plan that includes 53 holiday cottages, a ballroom/function room, a leisure centre and a new restaurant. Expansion plans suffered a blow this year when An Bord Pleanála refused planning permission for coastal protection works at the resort.

The resort is the single largest employer in west Clare and last year staff costs increased by 3.5 per cent from €6.35 million to €6.57 million as numbers employed increased from 221 to 230.

At the end of last year, the company’s shareholder funds totalled €19.3 million. This was made up of €12.39 million in accumulated losses and €31.76 million in other reserves. The company last year recorded a gross profit of €10.2 million and administrative expenses of €10 million resulted in the operating profit of €209,858.

Mr Trump’s sons, Eric and Donald Jnr remain on the board of the Trump Doonbeg firm. Mr Trump and his daughter Ivanka stepped down as directors on January 19th 2017, one day prior to Mr Trump’s inauguration.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times