SURFING GROUPS HAVE written to Clare County Council to raise their concerns about plans to erect a flood defence wall around US President Donald Trump’s golf course in Co Clare.
The submissions were among a few dozen sent to the council by locals, environmental groups and the Green Party.
Most expressed concern about the damage the proposed works would do to Doughmore beach’s dunes and wildlife, while others expressed concern over the aesthetics of the flood defence plans.
Trump’s company TIGL Enterprises Ireland Ltd first made the application for a flood defence plan to protect against erosion at the president’s Doonbeg golf course last year.
It later withdrew the application in December to tweak its application and scale down the plans.
In a previous statement, the Doonbeg golf resort said that the new “coastal protection” application will stretch from around 600m to the south and 250m north of the beach.
“Metal sheet piles would be inserted into the ground on the golf course. Limestone boulders would be placed at the base of the sheet piles.
“Once completed, the works would not be visible to view, being covered by sand and the cobble bank which backs the beach. Access to the beach for all users as exists today will be maintained.”
Among the submissions were two lengthy statements by the West Coast Surf Club, which said that its members had enjoying the perfect surf conditions and the natural beach of Doughmore “for generations”.
It said that it engaged with both TIGL and Clare County Council on the proposed plans for Doughmore beach.
It said that it had sought “significant engagement not only with our members but also the international surf community’s specialists and other independent coastal zone management specialists”.
“During the most recent round of reviews, it became quickly obvious that what was proposed will result in the acceleration of erosion in parts of the beach not protected following the introduction of the proposed fixed elements.”
It added that the proposals only “protect sections of the current layout of the golf club” and would ”hasten the damage to the beach side at the very least and lead to the eventual demise of the dune system in its entirety”.
The national surfing representative group Irish Surfing also found fault with the plans. It said it was objecting “on the grounds of the expected long-term damage to the surf environment due to resulting changes to beach profile which will follow the introduction of these coastal protection works”.
“Traditionally, Irish Surfing generally provides support but leaves direct responses to issues of local access and environmental threats to local surf clubs, however in this case, the threat to this important surfing environment requires a public response.”
One local compared the plans to the failed projects of the boom era, adding that they were ”completely inappropriate in terms of visual impact”.
“Sadly, there are many recent Irish examples where the poor planning decisions of the Celtic Tiger years have caused inestimable difficulties for homeowners now living on floodplains in developments which should have been built.
“In a similar way, the proposed interference in the natural landscape of Doughmore will lead to areas at either end of the proposed barrier bearing the brunt of winter storms.”
The National Land Trust said that the works proposed “are not scientifically credible, are not the appropriate treatment of a dynamic dune system, have not been demonstrated to be compatible with the maintenance of the ecology of the dune system and are visually injurious to the Atlantic dune and beach landscape”.
Meanwhile, the Green Party said that its initial “concerns about the project have not been satisfied” by the further information supplied by Trump’s company.
“Traditional coastal golf links do not require tees on mobile sand dunes; they are located on the stable terrain behind. We do not believe that a unique ancient ecosystem, and surrounding views, should be damaged for the sake of an inevitably fleeting use of the area as a golf course.”
Trump International Golf Links & Hotel Doonbeg declined to comment on the new submissions. A decision on the planning application is due later this month.
Written by Gráinne Ní Aodha and posted on TheJournal.ie