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Photograph by John Kelly.

When is a wall not a wall?

WHILE Donald Trump is planning to build a wall between American and Mexico if elected United States President this November, his “small potatoes” resort in West Clare has applied to Clare County Council to construct a €10 million “beach augmentation” coastal protection barrier, which management insist is not a wall.

If planning permission is granted to Trump International Golf Links and Hotel Ireland in Doonbeg to proceed with their 2.8km long beach augmentation plans, which would constitute the use of 200,000 tonnes of limestone, it will take eight months to complete the project.

In their submission to the council, consultants warned that if planning permission is not granted, the resort may have to close. The consultants also claim that the West Clare economy would benefit to the tune of €38m, between 2017 and 2024, if permission is granted.

A detailed non-technical summary, issued by resort management, states that the development will involve placing limestone rock armour in the vicinity of the existing large cobble ridge, which separates the White Strand beach element of Doughmore Bay from the golf course and sand dunes.

The stone is to be set out in front of the existing dunes and will run the length of the beach. It is envisaged that the rocks will be 3m to 4m above beach level and will be 15m to 20m wide at the base.

“In front of the 18th fairway and green, the protection will include a sheet pile, hidden from view on the edge of the fairway, and a band of rock armour (half a metre), which will be covered and seeded with marram grass,” the summary explained.

It is planned to transport the 200,000 tonnes of rock armour to West Clare by road.

“The rock armour would be transported on national primary and secondary roads from limestone quarries in the vicinity of Ennis. All construction traffic would utilise the main entrance of the golf resort to access the coast. A construction compound would be located adjacent to an existing maintenance facility next to the fourth fairway. Access to the beach would be by way of the southern surfers path, which lies behind the third and fourth golf holes on the course.

“Following construction, access will be formalised at the southern surfers access and the northern access will be closed. The right of way, at the southern access, will be maintained at all times. Additionally, the surfers car park will be expanded to take 20 vehicles. Beach access will be available at all times, both during and after construction from the Mountrivers public car park,” the summary from the resort outlined.
Management say earth movements will be monitored by an archaeologist, while an ecologist will monitor all construction activity.

The summary also says that there will be a “moderate negative effect arising in terms of the landscape local to the beach. It is anticipated, however, that this will ameliorate over time as the structure is integrated with the local setting.”

Furthermore, it is envisaged that there will be an increase in noise levels during the construction period.
“There will be temporary, local and short-term effects upon noise and air quality during the construction period. With standard good practice, it is not anticipated that there would be any material effect upon local residents, users of the golf resort or users of the beach,” resort management maintained.

By Peter O’Connell

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