Environmentalist granted permission to challenge planning permission for Trump wall at Doonbeg

An environmentalist has secured leave from the High Court to mount a legal challenge to the planning permission granted to build a sea wall at Donald Trump's golf club at Doonbeg in Co Clare.

Environmentalist granted permission to challenge planning permission for Trump wall at Doonbeg

By Ann O'Loughlin

An environmentalist has secured leave from the High Court to mount a legal challenge to the planning permission granted to build a sea wall at Donald Trump's golf club at Doonbeg in Co Clare.

Just four days before Christmas last year, Clare Co Council gave the go-ahead to build a sea wall to stop part of the course at the Doonbeg Golf Club being eroded by the Atlantic Ocean

Clare County Council granted approval for the plan despite opposition from An Taisce, Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE), the West Coast Surf Club and others.

However, the plan - which involves building a 38,000-tonne rock barrier to protect three holes at the course “as a matter of urgency” - had the backing of the local community in Doonbeg.

In the High Court today Mr Justice Seamus Noonan granted environmentalist Peter Sweetman permission to legally challenge the grant of planning permission and also put a stay on any appeal before An Bord Pleanala.

In the case against Clare Co Council, Trump International Golf Links Ireland Enterprises Ltd, An Bord Pleanala and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht are all notice parties.

In an affidavit to the court Peter Sweetman from Rossport,Ballina, Co Mayo said the development will include excavation of existing sand, the use of sheet piling backstops with and cobbles currently on the beach being used to form a dune profile over a distance of 609 metres at the northern end of Doughmore Bay, west of the golf course.

He said notwithstanding the considerable number of submissions and reports where alleged deficiencies in the information presented were set out in detail, Clare Co Council granted permission for the development on December 21, 2017.

Mr Sweetman said he had read all the documents publicly available and online and he could find no appropriate assessment or any reference to an appropriate assessment having been carried out.

He said this is a development which by virtue of its location in an extremely environmentally sensitive location requires a full stage appropriate assessment before the grant of planning permission.

He said it is entirely unclear from the decision and the file the basis upon which the decision to grant planning permission was made and the assessments are not apparent.

Mr Sweetman said it was clear from the information submitted to Clare Co Council in the course of considering the planning application and from reports compiled by its own internal staff there were significant issues with the quality of information submitted in the application and that these deficiencies were allegedly not remedied.

He said it is simply impossible to know how or why the Council decided to grant the planning permission or how it resolved the matters of controversy.

In his judicial review proceedings, Mr Sweetman is looking for an order quashing the planning permission for the development comprising coastal erosion management works at Carrowmore Dunes, White Strand, Doughmore Bay, Doonbeg and a declaration there was a failure to carry out or record any or any proper environmental impact assessment or any proper appropriate assessment.

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan granted leave to seek judicial review and adjourned the case to May 1.

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