Protected snail trumps Donald’s Doonbeg plans

The tiny protected snail Vertigo Angustior has managed to put a block on US billionaire Donald Trump’s plans to put in place urgent coastal protection works at his Doonbeg golf course.

Clare County Council decided to delay Mr Trump’s coastal protection plan, citing the failure of the golf club to properly evaluate the potential impact the works will have on the EU-protected 2mm snail as central to its request for further information.

Mr Trump declared that he would be a friend to the snail as he oversaw the expansion of the golf resort.

There are tens of millions of the snails at the course, which suffered significant winter storms’ damage.

The 5th green and 14th hole were relocated after being put out of action.

The golf resort subsequently lodged coastal protection plans with the council after consultants warned the severe storms had led to dangerous cliff exposure with steep dune slopes.

Consultants claimed “a sudden collapse of a section of dune could cause serious injury or even fatality”.

However, the council asked for more information on the impact of the snail after an intervention by the Department of Arts, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht.

The department noted the presence of the Vertigo Angustior was one of the reasons why a Special Area of Conservation had been established at the Carrowmore Dunes on the site.

To meet the requirements of the EU Habitats Directive, the department said: “It will be necessary for the Council to satisfy itself, before consent is given for the proposed development, that there is no remaining reasonable scientific doubt regarding the potential of the development to have adverse effects on the integrity of a European site.”

The council has asked Trump International Golf Links Ltd to submit proposals on the matter.

It is seeking further information on the plan in spite of application documentation forecasting the protection works may represent a ‘net gain’ for the snail.

The decision is a blow for Mr Trump, as Doonbeg golf club hoped to commence the works immediately after an anticipated grant of permission this month.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump’s name is to be added to Scottish golf resort Turnberry after when the US tycoon’s £100m (€125m) purchase of Turnberry is completed.

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