Environmentalist challenges Trump resort scheme

‘No assessment’ carried out for plan to build sea wall at Donald Trump’s golf course in Doonbeg

An environmentalist has brought a High Court challenge aimed at overturning planning permission for construction of a sea wall at US President Donald Trump’s golf course at Doonbeg in Co Clare.

Clare County Council granted planning permission on December 21st last to build a sea wall to stop part of the course at the Doonbeg Golf Club being eroded by the Atlantic Ocean.

The plan involves building a 38,000 tonne rock barrier to protect three holes at the course “as a matter of urgency”. It was supported by members of the local community in Doonbeg but opposed by An Taisce, Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE), the West Coast Surf Club and others.

On Monday, Mr Justice Séamus Noonan granted Peter Sweetman permission to challenge the planning permission, put a stay on any appeal before An Bord Pleanála and returned the matter to May 1st.


The judicial review proceedings are against Clare Co Council while Trump International Golf Links Ireland Enterprises Ltd, An Bord Pleanála and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht are notice parties.

Mr Sweetman, an environmentalist, wants orders quashing permission for coastal erosion management works at Carrowmore Dunes, White Strand, Doughmore Bay, Doonbeg. He also wants a declaration there was a failure to carry out or record any, or any proper, environmental impact assessment or any proper appropriate assessment.

In an affidavit, Mr Sweetman, with an address at Rossport, Ballina, Co Mayo, said the development will include excavation of existing sand, use of sheet piling backstops and cobbles on the beach being used to form a dune profile over a distance of 609 metres at the northern end of Doughmore Bay, west of the golf course.

Notwithstanding a considerable number of submissions and reports setting out in detail alleged deficiencies in the information, the Council granted permission for the development on December 21st 2017, he said.

Mr Sweetman said he had read all the documents publicly available and online and he could find no reference to an appropriate assessment having been carried out.

He said the proposed development, by virtue of its location, is in an extremely environmentally sensitive location and requires a full stage appropriate assessment before planning permission can be granted.

The basis for the permission is “entirely unclear” from the decision and planning file, he said.

It was clear from the information submitted to the Council in the course of considering the planning application, and from reports compiled by the its own staff, that there were significant issues with the quality of information submitted in the application and these deficiencies were not remedied, he said.

It is “simply impossible” to know how or why the Council decided to grant the planning permission or how it resolved the matters of controversy, he added.

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times