Clare County Council plans for €40m development at Trump Doonbeg golf resort put on hold

Clare County Council plans for €40m development at Trump Doonbeg golf resort put on hold

Clare County Council has put on hold plans for a €40m development at the Trump Doonbeg golf resort in west Clare.

This follows the local authority seeking further information from Trump firm, TIGL Ireland Enterprises Ltd on its plan to construct 53 holiday cottages, a ballroom/function room, a leisure centre and a new restaurant at the resort.

As part of the further information, the council has asked the Trump firm to lodge a revised Natura Impact Statement (NIS) to contain complete, precise and definitive findings and conclusions capable of removing all scientific doubt as to the effects on the adjoining protected conservation sites.

The planning authority has also asked the golf resort firm to address other technical aspects of the proposal but does not raise any objection in principle to the planned new components for the resort.

The resort’s separate plans for its contentious 38,000 tonne rock barrier - first lodged in December 2016 - are still before An Bord Pleanála with the board yet to decide if an oral hearing will be held into the appeal or not.

In contrast to the large number of objections that were lodged against the rock barrier plan, only two objections were lodged against the cottages, ballroom and leisure centre plan.

One of the objectors is environmentalist, Peter Sweetman who has already succeeded in delaying An Bord Pleanála adjudicate on the rock barrier plan in the High Court by challenging the Council decision to grant planning for the rock barrier in the court.

Last year, in an interview, Mr Sweetman declared: “I am a NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) and Ireland is my back yard.”

Mr Sweetman is a son of a former Fine Gael Minister for Finance, Gerald Sweetman and has previously been at the forefront of campaigns opposing Shell Corrib pipeline plans in Co Mayo along with raising concerns over a host of large road schemes, wind-farm projects and waste to energy plants.

Doonbeg Gold Course
Doonbeg Gold Course

Mr Sweetman said that his opposition to the rock barrier at Doonbeg “is about the Habitats Directive, the law and Doonbeg golf course - not me”.

The construction phase of the cottage/ballroom project is to employ up to 100 people at its peak.

The application follows the resort enjoying its best year so far in 2018 since the resort commenced full operations back in 2006.

Trump Doonbeg is the 16th in the Trump International portfolio and the hotel accommodates 45,000 guests each year with over 50% coming from North America.

Currently, 30% to 40% of hotel visitors are principally interested in golf with other guests attracted by the location and setting with most staying for leisure purposes.

Donald Trump playing golf at Doonbeg in 2018.
Donald Trump playing golf at Doonbeg in 2018.

Documents lodged with the plans state that the overnights at the resort will increase by 10%-15% along with higher individual room occupancy.

The application states that the 53 short term let cottages, ballroom and leisure building is necessary for the completion of the masterplan as originally intended.

The application states that the proposed ballroom and leisure facilities will diversify the range of activities offered and compliment the hotel’s existing facilities.

The banqueting facility that will cater for up to 300 people is to replace the marquee structure currently in place to cater for weddings.

Trump Doonbeg has stated previously that the investment in the new ballroom was contingent on the green light for the resort's planned coastal protection works.

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