June 21st, 2016
Local Surfing groups and Irish Environmental NGOs An Taisce and Friends of the Irish Environment were among those who submitted objections to Clare County Council over Donald Trump’s proposed sea wall adjacent to his golf links at Carrowmore Dunes, Doonbeg, County Clare.
The local authority were accepting submissions regarding the proposed 2.8km boulder wall until 5pm, Friday June 10th, by which point over 100 submissions had been lodged. Approximately one third of these opposed the works.
Heritage organisation An Taisce cited research claiming that the dunes have been protecting the local area from coastal flooding for generations, at no expense to the taxpayer. “Dunes are naturally dynamic systems and will retreat and advance in response to erosion. The dunes are currently being prevented from retreating by the inappropriately sited and designed golf course which should be realigned to allow the dunes to respond to rising sea levels.” They also pointed out that the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) identified “physical obstruction” as the greatest threat to the conservation of the site.
Environmental NGO Friends of the Irish Environment lodged a submission on a number of legal grounds, including that the proposal contradicts the 2014 Conservation Objectives for the Carrowmore Dunes Special Area of Conservation (SAC) designated under the Habitats Directive. They said that permitting interference with the natural circulation of sediment and organic matter at the site, processes which are integral to the natural regeneration of the dune system, would amount to Clare County Council breaching European Law. In their submission, they also refer to the cultural loss that would ensue were the public denied the spectacle of dune regeneration: ” one of the few ecosystems which we can watch develop within the time frame of our own lives.”
The Irish Surfing Association suggested that Trump consider review the option of making a “managed retreat”, while the West Coast Surf Club claimed that the plan was “naive”, and that “halting the process with a rigid imposition would damage the very thing that is being protected”.
The submissions in favour of the development came from some of the 250 full-time and seasonal workers employed at the resort as well as members of the community who earn a living from the tourist trade brought to the region by the golf club.