Residents in Doonbeg are hopeful the largest landowner in their parish, Donald Trump, will be returning to the village as the 45th president of the United States.
A local builder even claimed the Republican candidate – who has been targeted by Democrats during the election campaign for refusing to pay some labourers at his businesses – picked up old debts after he bought the Co Clare golf resort.
"I wish Trump the best," said Martin Kelly. "I hope he does get in. He is a good guy. He is positive, he is not perfect. I think he is a good trier and has a great empire built up for himself and I think he deserves to get in. He says what he means, there is no beating around the bush with him."
Mr Kelly said he carries out work for the Trump golf resort and said Mr Trump is very popular in the village. “Trump is employing a lot of people. He is a good guy to be honest with you. Trump has done a lot of good stuff done around here. A great company to work with. Very sound. You do the job and you get paid. There is no messing.”
Out of pocket
Mr Kelly said a number of local people were left out of pocket when the previous owners of Doonbeg went out of business. “When the other company went out of business, Trump picked up a lot of the old debts that were lying around. He picked up the tabs. I wasn’t owed massive money and I wasn’t expecting it, but I got paid. I know one man who was owed a considerable amount of money and he got every penny. Not everyone would do that. I thought it was very nice of Trump and it cost him a lot of money.”
Holding a large Trump, Make America Great Again, banner aloft, local publican Tommy Tubridy said he thinks "there is a strong silent vote out there for Trump that will come out and vote. I think he will do it. This area would be for Donald Trump.
“We appreciate what he has done for us – the money he has invested and the employment he has given over the past two years. He has over €5 million spent on the course and employs over 250 people. The spin off from that is unreal.”
The Trump-owned resort is reporting its best year after a redesign of the course and Mr Tubridy said it has “been a very good year for the whole village and Trump has been a great help. Trump has made mistakes, but everyone makes mistakes who makes progress.”
Pence family connections
Doonbeg’s interest in the election extends beyond Trump as his running mate,
, has family connections in the village and is a regular visitor to Doonbeg.
The owner of Morrissey’s bar, Hugh McNally, is related to Indiana governor Pence. “Obviously, it would be great if Mike Pence did get elected and if the golf club was associated with a president of the United States, it would be great for the area.”
Local farmer John Flanagan said a Trump presidency "would be massive for Doonbeg. It would do for Doonbeg what Obama has done for Moneygall. "
However, not everyone in the village is supporting the Republican nominee. Retired primary school teacher, and playing member of the Trump resort, James Griffin said: "Donald Trump is good for Doonbeg – I'm not too sure he would be good for the world. He has brought jobs to Doonbeg. He has done a fantastic job with the course, but I would have a lot of problems with his political ideas and I don't think I am alone in that.
“I would have my doubts about his worth as a presidential candidate and he has some views that I wouldn’t agree with.”