Washington Post cover Trump’s Irish wall controversy

Published by Ian Carey on

February 10th 2017

Leading US newspaper, the Washington Post, has covered the controversy around Donald Trump’s proposed sea wall at Doonbeg.

In a piece entitled ‘Trump tried and failed to build a wall in Ireland. That could mean big trouble for Europe’ the newspaper outlines the efforts to stop the sea wall and the online version carried a video with interviews of people at Doonbeg, Co Clare.

This has drawn significant international attention to the issue of the sea wall as President Trump tries to claim his plans were blocked by the EU. A claim which opponents of the sea wall totally deny.

The article starts:

“Before Donald Trump proposed a 1,000-mile wall on the U.S.-Mexico border to stop migrants, he tried to build a two-mile barrier on a pristine stretch of Irish coast to rein in an ocean.

“He didn’t succeed. 

“Irish surfers, weekend beachcombers, environmental scientists, local planners and even a microscopic snail got in his way. In December, Trump International Golf Links backed down from plans it had said were essential to protect the company’s lone Irish course — picturesquely nestled in dunes overlooking the Atlantic — from being swallowed by rising seas. “

It goes on to bring in comment from environmental campaigner Tony Lowes from the Friends of the Irish Environment group in relation to the impact of the proposed seal wall on the narrow mouthed whorl snail. 

“If you damage the dunes, then you eventually eliminate the snail’s habitat,” said Tony Lowes, director of Friends of the Irish Environment. “They will go if a wall is put in place.” 

This come as An Taisce – the National Trust for Ireland have submitted their objections to Trump’s revised sea wall plans at Doonbeg.

The environmental group said in a statement:

“Not only will the proposed construction not solve the problem of erosion but it will likely have further negative consequences, such as increased erosion elsewhere, habitat loss and threats to nearby wetlands. The dunes themselves harbour important habitat and species, whose value and conservation status is not adequately addressed within the EIS.

“An Taisce supports conservation approaches taken in other countries such as the UK, the USA and the Netherlands where coastal dunes have been recognised as important multifunctional landscapes. The approach of the Netherlands of soft-protection and active restoration of dune systems has proven to be more successful and cost-effective.”

Fintan Kelly, An Taisce’s Natural Heritage Officer stated

“The solution being put forward by Trump International Golf Links Ltd is bad for the people who love White Strand the Beach, Surf and Dunes and the protected habitats and species that depend upon its sustainable management. There may be new Trumps in charge and a new application but the negative impacts here haven’t changed. The conservation of sand dunes internationally has proven that they are more cost effective at protecting the coast than hard sea defenses and that they supply valued biodiversity and ecosystem services to local communities. The proposal is not supported by the scientific consensus that sea walls are not compatible with sand dune conservation. The golf course design and management simply has to change.”

[x_button shape=”square” size=”regular” float=”none” href=”https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/trump-tried-and-failed-to-build-a-wall-in-ireland-that-could-mean-big-trouble-for-europe/2017/02/05/4629d02e-e5a0-11e6-a419-eefe8eff0835_story.html?tid=sm_fb&utm_term=.0764e313b846″ info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover”]Click here to view the Washington Post story [/x_button]


[x_button shape=”square” size=”regular” float=”none” href=”http://www.antaisce.org/articles/an-taisce-makes-second-submission-to-the-trump%E2%80%99s-doonbeg-wall” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover”]Click here to view An Taisce’s submission on the new sea wall [/x_button]


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Ian Carey

Ian is the editor of the Green News. He works as Communications Manger with the Irish Environmental Network.