Donald Trump firm abandons plan for €10m Doonbeg sea wall

Proposal for US president-elect’s Clare resort involved 2.8km, 20m high, 200,000 tonne barrier

Donald Trump addresses an audience in Kiawah Island, South Carolina and references an investment he made in Doonbeg golf club. Video: MSNBC

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US president-elect Donald Trump’s controversial plan to build a 2.8km rock barrier, costing €10 million, at his Co Clare golf resort has been abandoned.

The Trump Doonbeg Golf Resort said the application to Clare County Council has been withdrawn.

The resort has instead unveiled plans for a scaled down proposal that will protect exposed areas adjacent to the first, ninth and 18th holes on the links course.

The original proposal extended for 2.8km along the beach and involved the placing of a 200,000 tonne rock barrier.

The new plan aims protect around one third of that area - with 650m at the south and 250m at the north of the beach - and involves only 20 per cent of the volume of rock cited in the original proposal.

The resort will now seek permission from the council to place sheet pile and rock armour at a number of locations on the seaward edge of the golf course.

Unveiling the plans on Tuesday, the company said the move was necessary to combat coastal erosion. The works would take some 12 weeks to complete and an application will be lodged before Christmas.

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Clare County Council voiced concerns in June over the larger scale proposal which involved the creationof a structure 20m wide and four metres high. The new plan “would not be visible to view”.

Long process

Joe Russell, general manager of the Trump resort, said the larger plan had been withdrawn over concerns that the planning process “would take three to four years” to complete.

“Was that acceptable given the threat of the ocean? It wasn’t and what we needed to do was to protect the vital areas of the golf course where we feel any more erosion would cause huge disruption to our business,” he said.

The reason for the change of mind, Mr Russell said, “is time, we need to get something done quickly. I don’t have the time and the ocean keeps coming at me.

“We need to get a far quicker solution that would protect the golf holes under threat.”

Last June, in its request for further information, Clare County Council stated it did not have sufficient scientific evidence that would allow it conclude that the barrier would not adversely impact on the integrity of the EU designated Carrowmore Dunes Special Area of Conservation (SAC) at the site.

The council made a request for 51 separate items on the contentious proposal.

“The request for further information was significant and if we were to undergo that process, it would take a substantial amount of time. That is time which we don’t have,” Mr Russell said.

He said the company did listen to the concerns expressed in the request for further information and the observations made when drawing up the revised plan.

Hopeful

Mr Russell said that the new plan does not impact on the beach and is significantly smaller than what was proposed. “I am very hopeful that it will get planning permission. I don’t think there is any contentious in it and it protects the asset.”

The old application attracted more than 110 submissions and enjoyed overwhelming support in the Doonbeg community.

However, An Taisce, Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE), the Save Doughmore Beach Protection Group, surfer groups and some 30 individuals living outside Doonbeg objected to the plan.

“While the sense of relief today is enormous – as is our gratitude to the international community- the current proposal will require detailed analysis in terms of the Conservation Objectives – and the impact on the protected snail – before we can comment on it,” Tony Lowes of FIE said.

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