President Trump will get his wall, although it will not be erected on the border of the United States and Mexico.
Despite concerns of environmental groups, Donald Trump has received clearance to build a sea wall at his Trump International Golf Links Doonbeg. Local authorities in County Clare, Ireland voted in favour of Trump’s application to build two concealed seawalls on the course to defend against rising sea levels and water erosion.
The first application launched by Trump International Golf Links & Hotel Ireland was submitted on different terms. In 2016, the company had applied for clearance to erect a 1.7 mile wall which was planned to be continuous. While that application was withdrawn prior to being considered, Clare County Council approved a second application which was lodged to prevent water damage potentially affecting three holes on the popular course. Two walls, measuring both 2,000 feet and 840 feet, respectively, will now be constructed in 2018.
The application was received both positively and negatively by locals. Many argued that the move would protect and even lead to more local jobs, while environmentalists strongly opposed the project. Given the location of the course, there are reasonable concerns that damage to the nearby and well-frequented public beach could be disastrous to wildlife and the general landscape. Unlike courses such as those played in the Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open, for example, the course at Doonbeg is susceptible to significant water damage. Protecting the course from the elements means keeping the resort in the long term.
Clare Council recently released a statement on the matter:
“Clare County Council has today issued a decision to grant permission for the development of coastal erosion management works at, and adjacent to, Carrowmore Dunes, White Strand, Doughmore Bay and Trump International Golf Links and Hotel, Doonbeg, County Clare.
“As per the provisions of the planning acts, any decision made may be subject to a First or Third Party appeal to An Bord Pleanála within four weeks of the decision date.”
A series of appeals looks very likely indeed. There are many locals who believe that the wall may lead to damage to their personal properties, while environmentalist groups are predicting irreparable damage to the surrounding landscape and wildlife. The uniquely rugged landscape is a source of pride to locals and the introduction of both walls will potentially affect both the aesthetic and functional qualities of the area.
An Taisce’s Ian Lumley believes that the plan must be opposed for the incompatibility the wall will pose to the local environment: “The scientific consensus is that sea walls are not compatible with sand-dune conservation… the golf-course design simply has to change.”
The Green Party’s Eamon Ryan has claimed that an appeal will also be submitted in opposition to the wall:
“This was always about protecting the dune ecosystem and the ecology of this most sensitive coastline site. Building a barrier in the middle of the beach is going to change the whole way the dune system works.”