THE newly-formed Doughmore Coastal Protection Group will host a public meeting in Doonbeg hall next Monday night as members seek public support for coastal protection work on the beach, which bounds on Trump International golf resort. Golf course management has reapplied to Clare County Council for scaled-down coastal protection works and Doughmore Coastal Protection Group chairman Liam Ryan is adamant that jobs at the golf resort must be protected.
“There are 300 people employed there from places like Doonbeg, Cree, Cooraclare, Mullagh and Quilty. We have to protect these jobs. You hear very few announcements about jobs around the country. In the last two weeks, we’ve had ministers and councillors travelling all over the world, seeking investment in Ireland on the back of St Patrick’s Day. What we’ve got to do is protect what we’ve got.
“The greatest gift you can have is a job and that you can live in the area that you want to live in. That’s what we want to protect, as well as protecting the houses and the property,” Mr Ryan told The Clare Champion.
“The community has sat back over the last number of years but they have suddenly seen the possibility of losing jobs. The community has got together and said ‘we have got to do something here’.
“We are saying to the county council and the politicians that they can’t stand idly by. If a business puts a proposal to them and they don’t accept it, in my opinion it is up to them to come with a way forward.
“I’m living down there for the last 10 years and I walk Doughmore beach four or five times a week. I have seen massive change in the sand dunes in that period of time. There are more and more of the sand dunes disappearing and you can see that, within a short space of time, we’re going to have the sea going right into the land. Farmers, houses and the golf club are affected.
“It’s up to the council and it’s up to the business to work together and come up with a result. The sand dunes are disappearing.
“It’s not something that you can spend 10 years talking about. Something has to happen now. That’s the urgency. If it was the council that had to put up the money, we’d have a fight on our hands. Here we have a company that is willing to put €10 million into paying for the coastal protection,” Mr Ryan, whose business is based in Limerick, added.
He also said that Clare County Council used rock, which formed a natural protective sand dune barrier on Doughmore beach, to build roads in Clare from 1943 to 1950.
“We have Kevin Shanahan, who owns the farmhouse on the northern side of the beach. We also have Mickey Whelan, who is 94. In the 1940s, Clare County Council brought two crushers, one in from the north side on Kevin Shanahan’s father’s land and they crushed stone to built the roads of West Clare. Mickey Whelan, his family, the O’Keeffes and other people worked on the haulage of these stones.
“The council took a section of the barrier that was there to protect the dunes and at this stage, they have a responsibility to the people of Doonbeg,” the committee chairman maintained. Monday night’s public meeting will include a visual presentation and the meeting will start at 9pm. Last December, it emerged that plans to build a 2.8km coastal protection barrier at the US President Donald Trump owned resort were shelved.
Instead, Trump International submitted an application to Clare County Council seeking permission to place a sheet pile and rock armour on the seaward side of the golf course.
The new proposal would protect an area 650m south and 250m north of Doughmore beach, next to the golf course.
By Peter O’Connell