While Donald Trump was likely basking in the glow of his runaway victory in the New York primary in April, he also received a bit of news that was less than terrific.
Trump has been denied permission to build his wall – not his 1,000-mile border wall between the US and Mexico, but a 200,000 ton, 1.7-mile wall along the coastline of his Trump Doonbeg golf resort in Co. Clare in Ireland.
Last April, Ireland’s planning authority, An Bord Pleanála, ruled that the wall did not qualify as a strategic infrastructure development (SID).
As the board ruled:
“It is noted that the golf resort is located along the Wild Atlantic Way, however, it is a private facility which does not attract passing tourist trade on any sort of regional scale. Although the proposed development seeks to protect existing local economic resources in the area, the proposed new berm structure and armoustone in its own right would not be of strategic economic or social importance to the State or the region in which it would be situate.”
Trump’s Irish firm, TIGL Ireland Enterprises, had applied for the SID classification from An Bord Pleanála in an effort to work around Clare County Council, which not been accommodating to Trump and his planning desires.
Trump has been trying to start construction of the wall since early 2014. Shortly after he purchased Doonbeg for $9.45 million (€8.7 million), storms caused erosion of sand dunes along the coastline of Doughmore Beach, the stretch of land where the golf course meets the ocean. In some places, the erosion was as much as 19 to 26 feet. On the 18-hole course, designed by Greg Norman, the 14th hole was washed away and the 5th, 9th, and 18th holes were damaged.
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To counteract the coastal erosion, TIGL began placing rock armor along the coast in April of 2014. But because the coastline is the natural habitat of Vertigo angustior (the narrow-mouthed whorl snail), an endangered species, Clare County Council slapped him with a planning enforcement order, directing Trump to desist from any further work.
Environmental activists group Friends of the Irish Environment also voiced its opposition to the building of the wall, with its New York-born director Tony Lowes calling the plan a "monster sea wall."
TIGL has since continued to butt heads with Clare County Council. After submitting a revised plan for the wall in February, Trump’s team in Ireland warned the local authority that permission for the wall must be granted if Trump’s investment in the golf course and the area is to continue.
Now, Trump will have to secure permission from the county council if he is to get his wall. Following An Bord Pleanála’s decision, Joe Russell, the General Manager of Doonbeg, threatened that the final decision on the wall “will determine the future of our business, the local community, and its citizens.”
During a campaign speech in February, Trump dismissed Doonbeg as a “small potatoes” purchase for his kids to “have fun” with.
H/T: The Irish Times, TheJournal.ie.
*Originally published in April 2016.