TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar is under intense political pressure today, after claiming he had sought to help Donald Trump prevent a windfarm being built near Doonbeg.
At a lunch in Washington yesterday, he spoke about receiving a phone call from Mr Trump three or four years ago, at which time he was Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport.
In the call, Mr Varadkar said that the future President told him he had a problem near the golf course, where a wind farm was being proposed.
Afterwards, Mr Varadkar said he tried to assist Mr Trump. “I endeavoured to do what I could do about it,” Mr Varadkar claimed.
“I rang the County Council and enquired about the planning permission and subsequently the planning permission was declined and the windfarm was never built. Thus the landscape being preserved. The President has very kindly given me credit for that. Although I do think it probably would have been refused anyway. But I’m very happy to take credit for it if the President is going to offer it to me,” the Taoiseach added.
In a statement Clare County Council said that the Taoiseach did not make a submission. “The Planning Application was received on August 15 2014. All representations, objections and observations made in relation to this and all other planning applications are available to view on the planning file and the Clare County Council website. There is no representation by Leo Varadkar, the then Minister for Tourism and Sport, or any Elected Member on this planning file. The decision on October 8 2014 by Clare County Council to refuse this planning application was subsequently appealed to An Bord Pleanála. Following consideration of the appeal, An Bord Pleanála upheld the decision by Clare County Council and refused permission for the proposed development.”
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan TD said: “This is a shocking admission from the Taoiseach, and it harks back to the very dark days in the Irish planning system, where political interference ensured that the rich and powerful got what they wanted. The fact that the Taoiseach so flippantly admitted his intervention only makes matters worse.”