Billionaire businessman, hotelier and real estate mogul Donald Trump has encountered some small but mighty resistance to his plans for the Doonbeg Lodge and Golf Resort in County Clare, which he bought in February for $20.4 million.
And 'The Donald' does not appear to be happy about it.
Doonbeg, which will be renamed the Trump International Hotel and Golf Links, suffered damage from the massive waves that battered Ireland’s coast during storms in January and February. On the 18-hole course, designed by Greg Norman, the 14th hole was washed away and the 5th, 9th and 18th holes were damaged.
To expedite repairs and safe-guard against further coastal erosion during the high tides in March, Trump’s team overseeing the rebuilding began placing rock armor along the dunes and shore, the use of which is prohibited by the golf course’s planning permission.
They were quickly served with a planning enforcement order from Clare County Council, directing Trump to desist from any further work.
First uncovered by the activist group Friends of the Irish Environment and then reported on by the Irish Examiner, the course’s planning permission, which was outlined in 2011, holds that rock armor would likely cause more harm than good to the coastline in the long-term.
The planning permission also contains a provision for a rare species of snail that lives in the course’s dunes.
The microscopic, narrow-mouthed whorl snail (Vertigo angustior), is an endangered species and must, therefore, be protected by the government.
The Irish Times’ environmental editor Frank McDonald explained: “A large part of the site is a designated area of conservation, and the reason for that is because of a little snail called the Vertigo angustior, which is a tiny little thing, but it’s a protected species under the European Habitat Directive, and Trump would have known that before he bought the place.”
Trump’s legal team has complied with the council’s orders and agreed to follow all planning procedures, but did make their displeasure known as they hinted at the possibility of legal action against the council.
“Please be advised that, given the emergency nature of the situation facing the owner, any obstruction of these efforts — which are vital to the survival of the business — will force our client to hold you responsible for any resulting damages or lost income, business and the livelihoods of our many great employees,” they warned.
While Trump is usually very outspoken on his Twitter account, he has not mentioned anything about the conflict with the county council. However, yesterday he did tweet the following inspirational quote from his 2008 book “Think Big”:
"Use adverse events and monumental challenges to make you stronger." - Think Big
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2014