On Thursday, a local county council in Ireland approved Trump's golf course to build sea walls on the side of a public beach to prevent erosion of three of the course's holes. While some local residents praised the decision, citing the possibility for increased Trump resort investment in their community, many environmental activists criticized the approval of the walls' construction.
The New York Times reported that Trump International Golf Links, which owns the golf resort in Doonbeg, County Clare, initially had applied to build a much longer sea wall structure last year. That application was withdrawn, however. Interestingly, the original application cited "global warming and its effects" — something Trump has referred to as a "hoax" — to justify the wall's construction. After the resort withdrew its application, it submitted a new one that requested the construction of two shorter, separate sea walls. That new application did not mention global warming.
Sea walls separate land from water and are used to prevent erosion and damage to the shore. The resort sea walls approved by the local council in Clare consist of two lower, hidden sea walls; one will be 2,000 feet long and the other 840 feet long. They will be placed on the "landward side of a public beach" and would serve to protect holes one, nine and 18 on the course from erosion.
According to the Times, local residents who oppose the construction of the sea walls worry that they could alter the tide and/or cause flooding on their properties. Moreover, environmental activists have expressed concerns that the walls could damage the public beach and sand dunes in the area. Eamon Ryan, the leader of the Irish Green Party, told the Times that he believes the more environmentally-sound solution would be to not construct the walls at all. Instead, Ryan suggested the course "move the golf holes farther inland ..., where there’s room for them, rather than disrupt the beach.”
This is not the first time a Trump golf resort has caused environmental controversy in Europe. Just last month the BBC reported that Trump International Golf Links Scotland may be damaging the country's 4,000-year-old coastal dunes and cause them to lose their special conservation status (the company disputes this).
Those who support the construction of the sea wall at the Irish golf resort told the New York Times that they are hopeful that the approval of the construction will result in the Trump Organization following through on its plans to invest more resources in the area. As Rita McInerney, a local businesswoman, told the Times, “We’ve been campaigning for 25 years to bring investment to our community ... There is a not a lot of opportunity for employment here. They already employ 250 people there in the summer, and there’ll be more if they feel they can expand it. We’ll continue to work with the owners, whoever they are.”
Joe Russell, who serves as the general manager of the resort in Doonbeg, also noted to the paper that the organization was happy with the decision and that it "had ambitious plans to expand its facilities."
The local county council's move to approve the sea walls at Trump International Golf Links can be appealed to the country's national planning authority. At this point it's unclear whether or not an appeal will be pursued, although Ryan, the leader of the Irish Green Party, did note to the Times that he would consider filing one. The local council indicated that an appeal must be filed within four weeks, so the Trump Organization should know relatively quickly whether or not it can proceed with its construction plans.