‘Monstrous damage’ likely in Trump Doonbeg proposal

Residents, environment groups, and surfers file objections to planned protection works at Doonbeg

‘Monstrous damage’ likely in Trump Doonbeg proposal

Planned coastal protection works by Trump Doonbeg to save some of the best-known holes at its links resort will bring about ‘monstrous damage’ to the beach at Doonbeg.

That is the claim made by Clare woman Laura Hogan, who is one of more than 30 people and bodies to object to the new plan.

Yesterday was the final day for the lodging objections to the proposal that seeks to safeguard course holes 1, 9 and 18. Surfer groups have also come out strongly against the plan.

The resort was bought by US president Donald Trump in 2014. The works are required to save vital parts of the course from being destroyed by Atlantic storms.

Mr Trump resigned as a director of the Trump Doonbeg resort a day prior to being sworn in as US president last month while his children, Ivanka, Donald Jr, and Eric, remain directors.

The plan, which involves placing 38,000 tonnes of rock in front of the course at Doughmore beach, is a scaled-down version of the €10m, 200,000 tonne 2.8km proposal that Trump Doonbeg withdrew from Clare Co Council last December.

However, the plan remains contentious and the Irish Surfing Association and a local surf club, West Coast Surf Club, both lodged objections to the plan, fearing that the proposal will have a negative impact on surfing at Doughmore beach.

Objections have also been lodged by Friends of the Irish Environment and the Save Doughmore Doonbeg Beach Community Group.

In her objection, Ms Hogan, from the nearby town of Kilrush, told the council there is an obvious solution to the coastal erosion problems at Doughmore — if the golf course was moved inland.

“That such a simple solution could be ignored in favour of the monstrous damage they propose to do to our beach is simply impossible to understand,” she said.

“We are fortunate to have this spectacular beach on our doorstep and the thousands of walkers, joggers, and surfers who use this beach every year deserve to have their interests protected.”

Ms Hogan argues that “allowing a private commercial enterprise whose only priority is profit to build such a project on our public beach would be disgraceful and undemocratic”. She said the interests of the beach users at Doughmore “must take priority over that of a private company”.

The Irish Surfing Association represents thousands of surfers around Ireland. In its objection, it says it opposes the plan “on the grounds of the expected long-term damage to the surf environment due to resulting changes to beach profile which will follow the introduction of these coastal protection works”.

Lahinch-based West Coast Surf Club said Doughmore Bay “should not be a guinea pig for trialling unproven design proposals”. The club claims the planned erosion protection mean “the very thing that is being protected will be damaged”.

Waterford-based surfer Rory Breen told the council: “It would be a shame that this area be destroyed by this construction. I am prepared to do everything it takes to avert having this placed on the public beach and dunes.”

Around two-thirds of the 30 or so objectors are from outside Co Clare and no objection has been lodged from Doonbeg, where the community is supportive of the plan.

One of the locals to lodge a submission in support of the plan is farmer John Flanagan. In his letter, Mr Flanagan states: “Our community is upset that people who don’t live here, having nothing to lose by this, are objecting to everything just to get at Trump.”

Mr Flanagan says if the works are not approved the magnificent sand dunes will be washed away and the course will become too narrow to play, resulting in the closure of the resort.

A decision is due on the application later this month.

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