Trump scales back plans for 'huge' wall - at Irish seaside golf course

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 06, 2016 10:49 AM

By Conor Humphries

DUBLIN (Reuters) - A golf course owned by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has agreed to scale back a wall designed to protect its greens from coastal erosion after opposition from local residents, the local council said on Tuesday.

A plan submitted by Trump's company in May to build a 2.8 km (1.7 miles) armourstone wall up to 20 meters wide and 5 meters above the water line between the sea and the dunes sparked a campaign by environmental groups and locals to protect the beach.

In its place, the golf club management are now proposing two less visible barriers, of 650 meters and 250 meters in length, above the water line at either end of the beach, two people who attended a public consultation on Monday said.

A manager at Trump International Golf Links Doonbeg did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"The original plan they had was just never going to pass. It was just astronomically huge and so over the top. That was never going to be a runner," Green Party member Fergal Smith said. "They are learning that it's actually more detailed than just needing a big wall."

Trump, whose campaign for the U.S. presidency was dominated by plans to build a wall to curb immigration from Mexico, has spent $330 million buying golf courses and land to develop since he began investing in the sport in 1997.

The environmental group Save The Waves collected 100,000 signatures opposed to the initial development plan.

That application was withdrawn on Monday, said a spokesman for Clare County Council, which received more than 100 objections to the plan.

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The new plan provides for a less visible sheet metal piling and rock armor at two points above the high water mark, and for two golf holes to be relocated inland, said the Green Party's Smith, who attended the Monday meeting.

David Flynn, an engineer who works on behalf of the Irish Surfing Association and who also attended the meeting, said it would not be possible to assess the plan properly until a new planning application was made.

"A lot of people would still have concerns about the proposals. But it's certainly a step in the right direction," he said.

(Editing by Hugh Lawson)