THE biggest employer in Doonbeg is set to become the Republican Party candidate to contest the US presidential election.
On Tuesday, Donald Trump was all but confirmed as the Republican presidential nominee after his win in the Indiana primary, which led directly to main rival Ted Cruz dropping out of the race.
Although Doonbeg is a small village in West Clare and will have no direct say in whether Trump or the likely Democratic Party nominee Hilary Clinton becomes the 45th President of the United Status, if a snap primary was held in the Long Village, voters would probably vote local, despite the odd reservation or two.
Trump has threatened to build a really long wall between Mexico and the US border to help put people from Mexico off the idea of entering the Land of the Free. He is also insisting that the Mexican state pay for the wall at a cost of between $5 and $10 billion. The Mexicans have been slow to get behind this idea.
However, while Doonbeg people are fair minded and generally outward looking, unless they are playing Kilmurry Ibrickane or Kilkee in a knock-out championship game, the proposed Mexican wall is not yet a huge issue in the village. Given that the Mexican quarter in Doonbeg is not a highly populated zone, Trump would not lose too many votes in Magpie land on this issue.
A more plausible and generally more popular wall is that which Trump’s golf resort in Doonbeg want to build on Doughmore beach. The Trump organisation will fund this as long as they get planning permission from Clare County Council. Years of erosion and frequent storms have decimated the sand dunes on the beach, which fronts the golf course. This wall is contentious in the sense that environmental campaigners are opposed to it on the basis that nature should be let take its course and if the multi-million euro golf resort is flooded, let it flood.
However, most people in Doonbeg feel that it would be a better idea to build the wall and keep the resort viable, along with retaining the 240 jobs during the peak summer season. So if Trump was to campaign in Doonbeg, using his wall-building zeal as a vote magnet, he would be in business.
On his first visit to Doonbeg in May 2014, shortly after he bought the Doonbeg resort, a lovely red carpet was rolled out at Shannon Airport, while Finance Minister Michael Noonan all but pulled off a few joyous handstands, when Trump waved at him from the steps of his private jet.
If in 2017 or thereafter, President Trump visits his business in Doonbeg, how will the then government top that? If they rolled out the red carpet when Trump was just Trump, what will suffice if he is then President Trump?
By Peter O’Connell