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1 APRIL, 2016





Following on last night’s Irish National television programme ‘Prime Time Investigates’ on Donald Trump’s proposed wall at his Doonbeg sea side golf course, the environmental group Friends of the Irish Environment [FIE] have launched an international campaign to stop the proposed construction of a 3 km hard coastal defence of quarried limestone rocks up to-5 meters above beach level and 15 metres wide. The group has also reported the organisation for holding and covering up an unauthorised dump and damaging the protected dunes.



The import of lorries of rock limestone to construct this coastal defence without permission was the subject of an enforcement order by Parks and Wildlife Service on 21 February, 2014. The developer claimed that ‘the asset and business is in a state of emergency’ due to the ‘catastrophic nature of the storm damage’, stating that the course is now ‘incredibly dangerous’ and threatening to hold the Department liable for ‘resulting damages and or loss to property, including lost income, business, and the livelihood of our many great employees’. A meeting with Parks and Wildlife and a subsequent discussion with the Minister [Jimmy Dennihan] ‘seems to have had the desired effect’, according to records released to FIE by the Department of Arts, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht. The Trump Organisation agreed to apply for the current planning permission.



FIE Director Tony Lowes says that the proposed wall will prevent the natural dynamics of the remaining dune system from functioning. ‘From the nature conservation point of view, a rock armoured wall on a dune system is a lose lose proposition. The dunes lose because the embryonic dunes forming above the tideline are prevented from developing into mobile dunes by the construction of a wall between them and the rest of the dune system. At the same time, the wall will fossilise the high dunes so the natural nourishment of the beach by the preferential erosion of the dunes is prevented from reaching it, leading to a deepening of the beach which will be made worse by the loss of sand from cross and long shore drift created by the structure.’

The group says the 2014 legally binding Conservation Objective for Doonbeg (which are also included in the Draft Clare Development Plan), require the operators ‘to maintain the natural circulation of sediment and organic matter throughout the entire dune system, without any physical obstructions,’ concluding ‘there shall be no constructions permitted anywhere in the dune system’. If constructed, FIE says Ireland ‘would inevitable see prosecution by the European Commission, potentially costing the taxpayer – not Mr. Trump -  between €25,000 and €30,000 in fines.’


The group has also provided photographs to Clare County Council and the EPA of the illegal dump exposed by dune erosion and shown in Prime Time last night. ‘In the 10 days between Prime Time’s filming and our own site visit, it appears that the waste material has been covered up and the dune crest pulled down on top of it. This dump should have been reported to the authorities and investigated to determine what was the best approach to protect the environment from further damage. Instead, it was hastily hidden, causing more damage to the dune system.’


It has also reported littering along the beach caused by the failure of the golf course’s dune protection, including metal poles and concrete footings which it says should have been removed from the public beach. ‘The state of the dunes is shocking, littered with failed fences, their metal poles, chunks of concrete and rubbish. Mr. Trump has turned a great dune system into a slum.’



In a letter to National Parks and Wildlife Service, FIE alleges that drainage pipes highlighted by photographs require the Department’s consent as they could threaten the tiny snail, Vertigo angustior, which was at the heart of the settlement of the 2000 Judicial Review. Under a Management Plan, it has thrived and grown to a colony of more than 300m with unique annual records detailing vegetation and groundwater levels.

FIE also asks if the current widespread use of now rotting massive straw bales to try and stop the sand encroaching on the course are a source of nutrients which will impact on the vegetation and if they are in fact ‘worse for the dunes than even past poor farming practices’ as well as increasing the load on the dune crests, accelerating erosion.



The group had also published on its website the original letter 1995 from the Parks and Wildlife Service to Shannon Development, who were applying to draw down an EU £2.2m EU grant for the original golf course developers. The letter states that the NPWS would ‘strongly object’ to the development of a golf course on the intact areas of the dune system because ‘it would destroy the ecological and conservation value of the site’. ‘Only the degraded area at the eastern side of the system’, the letter concluded, ‘should be included in the proposed golf course, as the dune system was of ‘international conservation value’.

An affidavit of Dr. Micheline Sheehy-Skeffington of NUI Galway from the 2000 Judicial Review, stating that there was no justification for the reduction of the boundaries of the protected area which permitted the golf course to proceed.

‘The failure of the NPWS to maintain their position 20 years ago has led to the present impasse. If there is a lesson to be had from the history of Doonbeg, it is that the science will always get you in the end.’



English language: : Tony Lowes 353 (0) 872176316  Office: 353 (0) 27 74771 /

Irish Language: Daithí Ó hÉalaithe 353 (0)87 6178852


Campaign poster   |   Site Report   |   Letter Reporting to Council   |   Letter Reporting to National Parks and Wildlife Service   |  1995 Letter refusing permission   |   Skeffington Affidavit 2000


RTE Prime Time (See also ‘RTE player’)


YOU’VE BEEN TRUMPED – the shocking documentary on Trumps Scottish golf course development

‘You’ve been Trumped’





People in this conversation

  • James O'Connell

    My wife and I would like to add our names to objecting to the proposed wall by Trump at the Doonbeg golf course - we are dual citizens and annual visitors to Ireland and to Clare and it would be a travesty to spoil the natural beauty of the dunes and coastline by an unneccesary wall just to satisfy Trump's ego and bullying. Thank you- Jim & Maureen O'Connell, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

  • It's too bad that you're getting off on the wrong foot with the American president elect who has been directly subject to great prejudice by the American media. I think of Americans like the great John Quinn of New York who did so much to support Irish literature and must allow the possibility that President-elect Trump is also in our corner. There has been an obvious knee-jerk unthinking reaction to Mr. Trump's appearance on the national and international stage as an alternative to business-as-usual. A lot of people have sought attention for themselves, self-righteously, by attacking Mr. Trump and sometimes his family. I hope the actions of the County Clare Councillors don't fit into this category.
    Is there some possibility of working with Trump to find a solution to the problem agreeable to all sides? In the interests of cordial Irish-American relations for at least the next four years, I would respectfully ask you to work out a compromise that would allow the Trumps to fulfill their love affair with the area of Doughmore Beach and for the Irish people to be happy.

    All the best,tagus dut,
    Born in Ireland, raised in US'nAye
    Peadar Garland

    from Oakland, CA, USA
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