Donald Trump wants to build another wall. And this one’s on the other side of the pond. Trump owns a golf course and resort in Doonbeg, a rural village in Ireland’s County Clare. The golf course is set along 2.8 miles of Ireland’s Atlantic-swept coastline. But this picture-perfect setting has one major hurdle standing in its way: erosion. Trump reportedly wants to build a coastal erosion wall to prevent the golf course’s sand dunes from eroding away to the sea, CNN reports. The locals seem to agree with Trump’s vision, but environmental activists have severely criticized the idea.
A series of powerful storms seriously damaged the course’s 18th, 5th and 9th holes in 2014 and the course’s 14th hole has also since eroded. Trump believes that a coastal wall will prevent more of his golf course from eroding away to the sea. Surprisingly in this scenario, Trump seems to have an almost unanimous support from the locals of the are. Almost a quarter of the small community of Doonbeg work on the golf course. The only opposition seems to coming from environmental groups, and the locals are not happy about it.
Local cow farmer John Flanagan explains the scenario.
“We’re not Trump fans or haters. It’s got to do with the protection of our tidal bay. Which is worse? Ecology changing or no hills at all? We don’t care who it is — somebody has to slow down the erosion.”
But clearly, to most of the locals, the important issue seems to be stopping of the erosion rather than ecological preservation. But environmental activists, such as Tony Lowes, the director of the Friends of the Irish Environment, the delicate ecosystem seems to be much more important. Lowes has been actively campaigning against both the golf course and the plans of building a coastal wall.
“They had a grandiose idea that they could build a wall and stop the sea. That was it.”
According to Lowes, the construction of the wall would violate the initial conservation objectives agreed upon by the Trump organization.
“Sand dunes are one of our best coastal defenses against frequencies and storms — unless of course, you build a wall in front of them.”
Trump initially tried his luck with an illegal barricade, but the idea failed. Then in May 2016, the then-Republican Presidential candidate had requested county authorities for permission to build a full-fledged 1.5-mile long wall running across the beach. Local authorities filed a counter to Trump’s request citing environmental issues. Trump didn’t respond to the counter and withdrew the application in December 2016. Later in December, the then President-elect filed a new application seeking to build two rock walls along the coast. These walls will be supported by metal sheets that extend across the two ends of the dunes, a length of 0.5 miles.
Clare County Council is set to make a decision regarding the matter later this month. The County Council says that the application is still under evaluation and they are not able to comment on the issue at the time. But several international and national environmental groups including the likes of National Trust for Ireland, Friends of the Irish Environment and Save the Waves have been requesting the Council to decide against the plan.
“It seems the sand dunes are collapsing around us, but that’s part of a natural process. If you put a wall up you stop all that flexibility.”
Of course, the locals have a whole different idea. Most of them are for the idea of building the wall and believe it will do them more good than harm. Regarding the concerns of the environmental groups, one local, Rita McInerney, makes the following argument.
“Nature has a powerful way of destroying itself anyways.”
[Featured Image by mbbirdy/iStockphoto]