Golf club says council to blame for coastal erosion


The dispute between Clare County Council and Doonbeg golf club over coastal erosion has taken a new twist with the club accusing the council of being the source of the problem.

The golf club said the council had inadvertently caused the problem through work it carried out over 50 years ago when council workers removed substantial quantities of stone from Doughmore beach to help build roads in the area.

The golf club has warned that unless protection works are put in place the coastal erosion threatens the viability of the €150 million golf course that is expected to generate €20 million a year when complete.

The golf club has been informed by landowners that the beach rock defences stood six metres high at the dune face, with a spread of about 16 metres to the strand, prior to their removal in the 1940s.

Mr Kevin Shanahan told the club that the council parked a stone-crusher on the family farm in the 1940s. "Local farmers and others were then employed by the council to draw stone from the shore in horses and carts. Over a period of 10 years the county council and others removed almost the entire 'clochar' of stones along a distance of one kilometre," he said.

The club lodged plans to place 80,000 tonnes of rock on the beach last November. They met strong opposition from the council, which considered the works excessive. An Taisce, surfers and locals have also expressed opposition. In response to the council's concerns the club has resubmitted plans that scale back its plan to protect the Greg Norman-designed golf course.

Lodging a new Environmental Impact Statement, the club states that the volume of stone now required in the revised plan has been reduced by some 24 per cent, while the volume or cobble material for the transition areas has been reduced by some 70 per cent.

Instead of a 25ft-high barrier, the golf club point out that the revised plan involves placing "a single layer of stone on top of the existing upper beach areas at three locations along White Strand, at the southern, central and northern sections of the beach".

A decision on the application is expected next month.