US billionaire Donald Trump has moved to put the brakes on a giant windfarm located within sight of his Doonbeg Golf Resort, warning that the windfarm will cost jobs at the resort.
This follows Mr Trump’s Doonbeg Golf Resort formally lodging an objection against the plans by Clare Coastal Windpower Ltd for a nine-turbine windfarm, with the turbines nearly 20ft higher than Dublin’s Spire.
Mr Trump has been joined by a number of locals and unlikely allies — Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE), who previously objected to the golf resort — in opposing the windfarm plan.
The 413ft-high wind farm is located only 4km from the golf resort on the west Clare coast and, in the objection, consultants employed by the Trump firm claim it “will have a detrimental impact on the viability of the Doonbeg Golf Resort”.
They state: “The resort primarily relies on bookings from international and, in particular, the North American market and a reduction in bookings as a consequence of the visual impact from the proposed development will have a serious negative impact on tourism in the area.”
Executive vice-president of the Trump Organisation George Sorial said yesterday: “We will object to any windfarm proposal that negatively impacts our investment in Ireland.”
The lengthy submission lodged with the county council points out that US tourists spend €20m per annum in the local area and the windfarm will have a “profound negative impact on the business” of Doonbeg Golf Resort. The objection states that the resort provides direct and indirect employment, representing an investment of €150m that will generate the same again in indirect spend, creating a total tourism investment of €300m along the west Clare coast and surrounding area.
Planning consultants Cunnane Stratton Reynolds (CSR) state: “A loss of business at Doonbeg golf resort will have direct impacts on employment at the resort and the surrounding area, where many supporting tourist-related businesses have emerged and thrived in the past 10 years.”
The consultants also state “the negative tourist perception of windfarms in largely unspoilt and sensitive locations will have a significant negative impact on tourism in the area”.
The objection points out 230 people are directly employed at the resort and, in terms of bed/night visitors, 40% are North American, 51% are Irish, and 9% from the rest of world.
CSR told the county council: “The current owners plan to invest additionally in the resort. It is proposed to [enhance] the championship golf course and roll out substantial investment in the property over the medium term in order to deliver significant additional tourist services, thus creating a world-class golf resort.” The objection states that “it is clear the economic importance of Doonbeg Golf Resort to the region is significant and should far outweigh the economic windfarms at this location”.
In its 30-page objection, FIE claim the proposal is contrary to the EU Birds and Habitats Directive, would have a significant impact on the small-scale diverse landscape and negatively impact on tourism.
Clare Co Council is due to make a decision on the windfarm next month.
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