The climate crisis just became more personal for Donald Trump, after authorities in Ireland rejected an attempt by his Doonbeg golf resort to build a wall to combat rising sea levels.
The planning agency An Bord Pleanála said on Wednesday that the proposed 38,000-tonne rock barrier at Doughmore Bay could damage dunes that straddle the golf course in County Clare, on the Atlantic coast.
Trump International Golf Links Ireland Enterprises Limited, which is owned by the US president’s family, wanted to build barriers to protect fairways from exceptionally heavy storms and rising sea levels – evidence of a changing climate.
In 2017 Clare county council approved a plan for two barriers of 630 metres and 260 metres in length after rejecting plans for a much larger 28km (17-mile) wall.
But An Bord Pleanála has overruled the scaled-down proposal, putting a question mark over the resort’s long-term future.
“The board is not satisfied that the proposed development would not result in adverse effects on the physical structure, functionality and sediment supply of dune habitat within the Carrowmore Dunes special area of conservation,” it said.
The decision was a victory for Peter Sweetman, a veteran litigant, Friends of the Irish Environment and other environmental groups that have campaigned against sea barriers in Doonbeg, citing the impact on the landscape, flora and fauna in a conservation area.
Many residents and politicians favoured the barriers, saying flood defences would protect not just the golf course but also farms and jobs. The resort employs 300 people.
“I’m very disappointed, and more than a little angry,” tweeted Cillian Murphy, a Fianna Fáil party councillor. “I know there are environmental concerns, but there must be a solution that protects the development and the dunes,” he added.