Tiny snail may topple Donald Trump in barrier battle at Doonbeg

Golfers on Doonbeg Golf Links. Picture: PA

The microscopic 2mm whorl snail, the vertigo angustior, may yet ‘trump’ US billionaire Donald Trump in his battle to build a €10m rock barrier at Doonbeg.

This follows Clare Co Council expressing concerns over the impact the 2.8km 200,000 tonne Trump rock barrier will have on the EU- protected vertigo angustior and sand dune system at Doonbeg golf resort.

The council was due to make a planning decision on the application yesterday, but in a blow to the project, the local authority has stated that it doesn’t have sufficient scientific evidence that would allow it conclude that the barrier would not adversely impact on the integrity of the EU designated Carrowmore Dunes — a special area of conservation at the site.

After making a request for 51 items of further information on the contentious proposal in eight pages, the council has set back the plan a number of months with the volume of information that it has requested from the applicants. More than 110 submissions have been lodged with the council with more than two to one in favour of the application.

The plan has the almost universal support of the Doonbeg community while An Taisce, Friends of the Irish Environment, the Save Doughmore Beach Protection Group, surfer groups and over 30 individuals living outside Doonbeg have objected to the plan.

Donald Trump at Doonbeg
Donald Trump at Doonbeg

One of the areas on which the council has focused in its request for further information is the fate of the vertigo angustior, which has legal protection under the EU Habitats and Species Directive. In the planning application, TIGL Ireland Enterprises Ltd states that in a ‘do nothing’ scenario, “the prospects for vertigo angustior will remain bad and the population will ultimately diminish and be removed from the site”.

The warnings echo the dire prediction elsewhere in the Environment Impact Statement which state that the ‘do nothing’ scenario in the medium term “will bring the viability of the entire resort and its potential closure into question”.

However, in its request for further information, the council states that the rock barrier proposal by its very nature may interfere with the existing dynamic processes which operate at the dune system at Doughmore.

The council states that the EU habitat requirements for the vertigo angustior and fixed dune “rely on this dynamic process and therefore concerns are expressed regarding the impact of the proposal on same”. The Trump firm stated in the environmental impact statement there is no evidence that the wetland special area of conservation areas at Doonbeg have value to the vertigo angustior.

However, the council states that this wetland area “is important to this species and as such considers that hydrological changes could potentially affect the wetland special area of conservation outliers, dune slacks and the habitats and micro-habitats of vertigo angustior”. The council has requested the Trump firm to submit a revised Natura Impact Statement which examines the hydrological effects of the proposed development on the vertigo angustior and the fixed-dune system.


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