Trump Scraps Plan for One of His Walls After Irish Golf Row

  • Application to build barrier withdrawn from planning board
  • Company may submit a new scaled down plan in coming weeks

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump withdrew an application to build a sea wall aimed at protecting his golf resort in Ireland, the latest twist in a project that had stoked tensions in a tiny village on the Atlantic coast.

Trump’s company shelved plans to construct defenses about 1.7 miles (2.8 kilometers) long at his golf resort close to the village of Doonbeg, it said in a statement on Tuesday. The plan was submitted on behalf of Trump in May.

The planned sea barrier may now be replaced with a scaled-down version, which will extend to about 600 meters at the south of the beach and 250 meters at the north of the beach, Trump International Golf Links and Hotel, Doonbeg, said. The new proposals were displayed in the resort’s Ocean View room.

The new barrier “is not a wall, ” Michael O’Sullivan, responsible for coastal protection at the Doonbeg resort, said in an interview. “Our concern was that the full protection scheme would have taken too long to push through the planning process.”

Trump Hotels bought the 400-acre property in 2014 after a U.S. hedge fund placed it into receivership. The resort is among the biggest employers in the area, and a number of local people and interest groups backed the wall. Still, in an echo of the battles Trump has fought over his golf course in Scotland, environmentalists fought back. The new protection system will be invisible, O’Sullivan said.

“There is no doubt the original proposal would have stopped the development of the dune system and scoured the beach,” Tony Lowes, director of Friends of the Irish Environment, said. “The threat of Trump’s Irish wall has hung over Doonbeg like a dark cloud for more than two years.”

Rock Armor

A new planning application, which will include sheet metal piling and rock armor, will be submitted “at the soonest,” Doonbeg said. The works would not be visible to view, being covered by sand and a cobble bank which backs the beach, it said. The building of the defense system may take about three months.

Doonbeg is suffering erosion at a rate of one meter a year, while in a “bad storm” it can lose 10 meters, O’Sullivan said.

“We’re looking at protecting the essential areas,” he said. “We would be hoping this will be the last winter Doonbeg will be exposed.”

Opponents of the previous plan said they had yet to decide whether they would back the new proposal.

“We’re glad President-elect Trump has abandoned his plan,” said Green Party leader Eamon Ryan. “We will be asking the same scientific experts who advised us on our own earlier objection to consider the revised proposal. We want to protect the local jobs but believe this can best be done by adapting the golf course to the local environment.”

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