More than 94,000 people have signed a petition protesting Donald Trump’s plans to build a concrete wall to protect the erosion-hit dunes in front of his Doonbeg golf course, in Co Clare.
Dr Philippe Maison, the head of Europe’s biggest surfing organisation, has told of his anger at the billionaire’s plans for a €10m rock beach wall to protect his Irish links resort. He said the US tycoon should relocate his golf course.
Many locals are happy the US presidential candidate wants to spend millions on coastal defences in front of his five-star property, as it protects them from winter storm-flooding. But surfers across Europe have created the online petition, which has 94,000 signatures.
Dr Maison, environment manager with the Surfrider Foundation Europe, said Trump is only building the wall to protect his resort.
“He should move the golf course. You can’t move the beach. This surf spot is beautiful.
“If this wall is built, it is only to protect the golf course. He wants to hold the Irish Open there.
“It will be built on a public beach. If he builds the wall, it will destroy the surf, it will destroy the beach, the eco-system.”
The Surfrider Foundation is one of seven organisations backing the Save the Waves petition to protect Doughmore Beach and the Carrowmore Dunes.
The French surfer said Trump must stop interfering with nature.
“With this wall, the sea will start washing back and, step by step, the sand will go and the beach will be gone.
“It’s not only a problem for the surf, but for everyone who wants to walk on the beach. With this seawall, in some years there will be no beach there.
“Lots of surfers have signed and, also, there is lots of people who don’t like Donald Trump.”
Dr Maison said he understands that local people are in favour of the wall, as they want to protect local jobs in the resort, but he will be devastated if Trump gets the green-light from the authorities to build his 15-foot high wall across the famous surf beach.
Irish big-wave legend, Fergal Smith, is also backing the campaign.
“It’s so important that we stand up for nature and not get bullied by business. We must respect nature and have to learn to work with it, not just impose what some humans want.
“We are at a time in history where we can no longer watch money be more important than environment.”
The petition urges people to fight against the proposed wall on Doughmore Beach, which will be 2.8km long, 15 feet tall, and consist of 200,000 tons of rock.
The presidential hopeful sought planning permission for the seawall in March, but was rejected in April.
Clare County Council has sent a request to the golf resort to clarify or resolve 51 specific points.
It is expected a decision will be made before the end of the year.
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