Trump's Doonbeg 'wall' gets government setback

The controversial rock armour barrier not deemed "necessary"...

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Image: John Bazemore / AP/Press Association Images

Donald Trump's plan to add a 2.8km rock barrier to sand dunes along his Doonbeg golf links has hit a major hurdle.

The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has judged that the €10m, 200,000-tonne limestone rock armour is not necessary to protect the course.

Charged with protecting Ireland's EU-designated Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) sites, it has advised Clare County Council that Trump's TIGL Enterprises Ireland Ltd did not make a worthy case for the barrier.

Its submission also stated that the proposal could potentially have a negative impact on the integrity of at least one protected site at Doonbeg.

The department wrote:

"The key concern in this case is the likely effects of the proposed development on the dunes and their area and structure and function in the long term...

"The construction of physical barriers can interfere with the sediment supply to entire dune systems by cutting the dunes off from the beach.

"This can result in fossilisation or over-stabilisation of the dunes and in the loss or reduction in area of embryonic or shifting dunes."

In March, representatives for Trump warned that the Clare resort would face closure if the "wall" did not secure planning permission, claiming it was necessary to safeguard against storm damage.

Conservationists have been attempting to block the plans since 2014.

Trump's application has received 110 submissions and is widely supported by the local community.

However, the new department submission adds to a chorus of objections from An Taisce, Friends of the Irish Environment, the Irish Surfing Association, the Save Doughmore Beach Protection Group, Lahinch's West Coast Surf Club and 30 individuals.

A decision is due next month, though an expected request for further information is likely to extend the saga even further.