Billionaire businessman and US presidential candidate Donald Trump wants to build a "wall" of rock armour along a stretch of the Atlantic coast in Co Clare – to stop the ocean blowing away his Doonbeg links course.
The Irish firm that operates his luxury Doonbeg Golf Resort is to seek planning permission in a €10 million plan to put in place about 200,000 tonnes of large boulders to prevent further erosion of the course along a 2.8km stretch at Doughmore beach.
The resort last year lost substantial ground during the two winter storms at its sixth, ninth and 10th holes, with the storms removing up to 10 metres of dune along the entire beach.
It’s management warned that if the coastal protection works to be located at the toe of the sand dunes are not in place it could lose up to 100 metres of ground in certain places before 2050.
On his first trip to Ireland last year as owner of the Doonbeg resort, Mr Trump promised an investment of €45 million at the resort. However, that spend won't happen without the coastal protection plan getting the go-ahead.
In a statement, the resort’s management said that the expansion of facilities at the resort, including additional accommodation, leisure facilities and a banquet hall, are being considered. However, it warned that the realisation of these plans was “dependent on the provision of adequate protection from coastal erosion”.
Yesterday, a public exhibition of the planned works was mounted at the local community hall in Doonbeg for locals and others to view the plans and the exhibition is to continue today.
The plans show that the height of the coastal protection works at four to five metres above the beach will not be higher than the height of the existing cobble bank that face on to the beach.
Work has been continuing on the project for the past 12 months and the plan is to involve the excavation of the existing cobble bank with the boulders placed on top with no change in overall height.
The plans also state that there will be no interference with the dune face which is 20 metres high in places.
The plans cite precedent of the installation of similar coastal protection schemes at beaches facing on to Tralee, Waterville and Lahinch golf courses where similar ecological designations apply.
The environmental impact statement in relation to the plan is currently being completed and proposals are expected to be lodged with Clare County Council before the end of the year, with the club hoping that construction work will commence next summer.
The coastal protection work will not have any impact on the protected 2mm snail, the vertigo angustior.