A US group based 5,000 miles away from Doonbeg on Clare’s coast has put the brakes on plans by the Donald Trump-owned golf resort constructing its 38,000 tonne rock barrier.
This follows the California-based Save the Waves Coalition lodging a comprehensive appeal with An Bord Pleanála against the decision by Clare Co Council to give the contentious plan the go-ahead.
The scaled down plan is seeking to protect holes 1, 9 and 18 at the course and consultants for the Trump-owned firm, TIGL Ireland Enterprises Ltd have warned that a failure to put in place coastal defences for the golf course will bring the entire viability of the resort and its potential closure into question.
Today was the final day for the lodging of appeals and the Save the Waves Coalition has joined four other parties in seeking to block the plan, while other appeals may have been received but have yet to be validated.
The appeals received include a Co. Clare surfers’ group, the West Coast Surf Club, the Clare-based Save Doughmore Doonbeg Beach Community Group, Longford man, Liam Madden and environmentalist, Peter Sweetman.
The Save the Waves Coalition is based at Davenport in Santa Cruz county, California, and in its appeal Programme Director, Nick Scott Mucha, has told the board that the scale of what is planned “remains significant, long-term and irreversible”.
Mr Mucha said that Save the Waves “strongly encourages” the board to overturn the Council decision as the proposed scheme “will lead to multiple, cumulative and irreversible environmental impacts for this public asset whilst alternative solutions to accommodate coastal change are feasible, yet ignored by TIGL”.
Mr Mucha argued that the if the scheme proceeds “it will inevitably set a bad precedent for the future of Irish coastal policy, and indeed for the management of golf courses on dune systems in any location".
The US-based group claim that the proposed scheme is an incremental step towards the development of a continuous sea defence along the full length of the Doughmore Bay.
The group state that the most practical design solution to TIGL’s erosion concern is to make modifications to the golf course layout - not to impose coastal defences on a public beach.
However, a local group in Doonbeg, the Doughmore Coastal Protecton Group has lodged a submission in support of the scheme.
In the submission, Liam Ryan has told the board: “Yes, we must protect our wildlife and our heritage, but we must also protect our community, our jobs, our houses, and our farms.”
Mr Ryan adds: “Too many of the small villages in West Clare are starved of life and jobs, resulting in boarded-up houses and dead towns. Are we just going to sit here in Ireland and allow climate changes to eat further into our limited landbase?”
“There is no legitimate reason for anyone with the proper facts and knowledge to object to what is proposed. That is why at our very well-attended meeting of over 400 west Clare people in the hall in Doonbeg there were no dissenting voices to the protection works being proposed.”
A decision is due on the appeal later this year.