Presidential candidate Donald Trump has called his investment at the Doonbeg golf resort in Co Clare “small potatoes,” saying he has lost interest and will let his kids run it. Trump acquired the 400-acre resort, now called the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel Ireland, in 2014.
Trump was speaking at Kiawah Island in South Carolina on Thursday and asked the crowd if they had heard about Doonbeg, which was built by the same developers as Kiawah, the Irish Independent reports.
"I bought it a number of years ago and during the downturn in Ireland I made a good investment. It is an incredible place,” the Republican candidate told about 600 people at the U.S. resort.
Now that he is running for president, Trump says that he is more interested in politics than business.
"We spent a lot of money on making it just perfecto and now it’s doing great. But I don’t care about that stuff anymore. It is like small potatoes, right.”
“I’ll let my kids run it, have fun with it, let my executives have a good time, but I don’t care about it. I care about making America great again. That’s what I care about,” he said.
Trump’s speech at the rally was broadcast on live TV in the U.S.
According to documents Trump filed in 2015 in connection with his presidential campaign, he placed a valuation of the resort, which was designed by Greg Norman, at over €23m ($26m). Trump said it is generating an annual revenue of about $10m (€11.4m).
Doonbeg racked up a €2.5m ($2.85) loss in the first year under the billionaire’s ownership, recently-filed accounts show.
In 2014, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan was criticized for participating in a a welcoming party at Shannon Airport for the billionaire property mogul after his €15 million purchase of Doonbeg. A harpist, singer and violinist greeted Trump on a red carpet before he visited the resort and many accused the welcoming party of “bowing and scraping” to the U.S. businessman.
Noonan dismissed the criticism at the time, saying: “Would there be criticism if it was an IDA factory that was going into West Clare with 300 jobs? This man says he’s going to spend at least double the purchase price for investment down there.”
Trump also made headlines during that same visit to Ireland when he reprimanded RTE’s Sean O’Rourke for asking him questions about his hair during a radio interview.
Trump mentioned Ireland in another part of his speech when he complained that US companies were moving to Ireland because their taxes in America were “too high.”
“When you lose Pfizer . . . how big a company is Pfizer?” he said. “They are moving. It is gone. They are in Ireland. They are moving to Ireland.”
(Trump's speech begins at 58 minutes)