April 4th, 2016
An Irish Environmental group has launched a campaign to prevent the construction of a sea wall at Donald Trump’s County Clare golf resort, Trump International. Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) have claimed that the construction of the 2.8km wall between Doughmore beach and the dunes on which the golf resort is situated would ‘kill the dune system’.
In a letter to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) obtained by FIE, Trump International claims that the series of winter storms has left the business ‘in a state of emergency’ and that the course has been rendered ‘unplayable and inoperable’. Witnessing the loss of up to 10 metres of dunes in some places, the €10 million wall would be put in place to prevent further similar damage from occurring in future storms.
In 2014, an unauthorised attempt to install rocks to protect the dunes was halted by an Enforcement Order from the local authority. FIE alleges that current unauthorised defences have damaged the dune system, and has documented and reported this to the authorities. Tony Lowes of FIE stated that a hard coastal defence approach “flies in the face of widespread international recognition of the desirability of increasing sand mobility and allowing dune systems to adjust in a more natural manner”. He continued that “not only would this wall fossilise the dunes behind it, but it would prevent the sand from the eroding dunes reaching the beach, starving the beach of its natural nourishment”.
FIE maintain that legally binding Conservation Objectives for the protected site prohibit any construction on the dune system, and that any breach of this could lead to fines of between €25,000 and €30,000 per day, payable by Irish taxpayers. FIE have previously held Trump International under scrutiny, when the went to the High Court in 2000 to ensure that the dunes and a microscopic snail, Vertigo Angustior, would not be harmed by the development. This week’s ‘Prime-Time Investigates’ uncovered more controversy surrounding the site, when an unauthorised dump under the sand dunes was exposed by coastal erosion. In response to this, FIE have lodged complaints with the local authority and the NPWS. “Unauthorised dumps must be reported to the local authority to see how best to deal with them – not hidden by pulling down dunes on top of the rubbish,” said Tony Lowes.