A BEARA-based Irish environmental group has launched a campaign to stop Donald Trump’s Doonbeg Resort in Co Clare building a wall along the seafront.
Trump International has applied for planning permission for a 3km-long hard coastal defence of quarried limestone rocks up to 5m above beach level and 15m wide to protect the course from falling into the sea, according to Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE).
The developer and US Presidential candidate bought the seaside golf course and hotel in 2012. In a letter to the Parks and Wildlife Service, obtained by the FIE under Freedom of Information Act, his organisation is claiming that ‘the asset and business is in a state of emergency’ after a series of storms leading to five holes being out of service, ‘rending the course unplayable and inoperable’.
An attempt to bring in quarried blocks of rock to protect the dunes without permission was halted by an Enforcement Order from the local authority in April 2014.
Friends of the Irish Environment, who went to the High Court in 2000 to ensure protection for the dunes and a tiny snail it hosts, claim that the proposed wall will ‘kill the dune system’.
Eyeries-based Tony Lowes, who took the 2000 legal case, said: ‘The plan flies in the face of widespread international recognition of the desirability of increasing sand mobility and allowing dune systems to adjust in a more natural manner to increasing pressures of climate change. Not only would this wall fossilise the dunes behind it, but it would prevent the sand from the eroding dunes reaching the beach, starving the beach of its natural nourishment’.
According to the group, the legally binding Conservation Objectives for the EU protected nature conservation site published in 2014 prohibit ‘any construction on the dune system’.
‘If permission were to be granted for this monstrous proposal, there is no doubt that the European Commission would bring an action against Ireland for damaging the protected site, potentially leading to fines of €25,000 to €30,000 a day from the European Court of Justice – fines that the Irish taxpayer would have to pay – not Mr Trump,’ he said.
FIE has also lodged complaints with the local authority and the National Parks and Wildlife Service after RTE’s Prime Time Investigates recorded an unauthorised dump exposed by the eroding dunes. The group has provided photographs showing what appears to be a covering-up of the dump since Prime Time filmed it, and asked the management about it.
‘Unauthorised dumps must be reported to the local authority to see how best to deal with them – not hidden by pulling down dunes on top of the rubbish. The top of the beach is now strewn with failed fencing and poles, lumps of concrete and rubbish,’ Mr Lowes said.
FIE has also photographed and reported alleged damage to the sand dune system in Doonbeg by the current defences which were put in place without prior permission from the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Finally, FIE has published documents showing that the National Parks and Wildlife Service originally opposed the building of the course but in spite of scientific evidence in the end, it had allowed it to proceed.