Start of the action : 08/08/2017
Sign the petition against Donald Trump’s project to build a wall on Doughmore Beach in Ireland!
Donald Trump is an American businessman whose colossal empire worths multibillion-dollars. He is best known in Europe as the President of the United States since 2016. He has applied for permission to build a 2.8-kilometer wall on an Irish beach for the sole purpose of protecting his golf course, the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel. Its course extends along the beach of Doughmore where the erosion nibbles the dunes nearby and threatens certain holes of the course.
SUMMARY OF THE SITUATION
US President Donald Trump and his hotel company, Trump International Golf Links (TIGL), seek to build a massively controversial seawall on a public beach to protect his Trump Golf Resort in western Ireland. The first project, proposed in 2016, consisted of a wall of 200,000 tons of rock between the beach and the dunes in an attempt to stop erosion. This wall would extend over 2.8 km long and measure more than 5 m high. After a strong mobilization on an international scale, including a petition that gathered more than 100,000 signatures, Trump’s initial plan was rejected by the Clare County authorities. Nevertheless, the Trumps proposed a new project: the construction of two walls which together will be nearly 850 meters long.
Trump’s golf course is built along a picturesque sand dune system known as Carrowmore Dunes; a renowned ecological treasure that has been named a ‘Special Area of Conservation’ by the European Union Special Habitats Directive. In all, 31 acres of pristine sand dunes are legally protected and the system provides a unique habitat for the rare prehistoric snail, vertigo anguistor. The sand dunes play a critically important role for Doughmore Beach as they contribute the sand supply for the wide, popular beach and create the offshore sandbars that make Doughmore Beach a consistently fun surf spot.
Doughmore beach is one of the western Irelands most consistent beach breaks and widely popular with a deep community of surfers and beachgoers. Construction of this seawall will destroy the sand dune habitat, restrict public access, negatively impact the quality of the surfing waves, and ultimately result in beach loss.
Surfrider Foundation Europe has chosen to join the Save the Waves coalition of local and international associations. The associations involved are as follows: Save the Waves; Friends of the; Irish Environment; Save Doughmore Beach; The West Coast Surf Club; Irish Surfing Association; Irish Seal Sanctuary & Friends of the Earth Ireland.
Sand dune systems are, by definition, dynamic. They constantly shift, grow, blow out, and regenerate. Prevailing onshore winds blow sand from the beach inland where it gets trapped by coastal grasses and vegetation. Offshore winds blow the sands back down to replenish the beach and further offshore to create sandbars in the ocean. It is a continuous cycle that depends upon strong winds and open coastline. Building a 2.8 km, 15-foot tall seawall at the foot of the sand dunes will unquestionably disrupt the natural process and lead to the dunes’ demise. In the long term, the risk is to see the beach, the dunes, and the sandbanks disappear, which contribute to the formation of quality waves. Over time this will ultimately lead to the disappearance of the popular public beach.
This project would also impact the fauna of the dune ecosystem. More than 125 thousand square meters of primary dunes are under threat. This space is home to a species of prehistoric snail Vertigo anguistor, a species threatened with extinction.
After a series of winter storms in February 2014, Donald Trump began to illegally dump boulders along the public beach at Doughmore without any permits to protect his golf course. Enraged local authorities quickly intervened and Trump was forced to cease his illegal revetment and is now required to obtain the legal permits. Trump has grown incensed that he needs to comply with the local planning regulations and has threatened to close the golf resort if his permit is not approved.
Trump sought special permission from the Irish national government for the wall in March but was rejected in April. The local Clare County Council is now the responsible agency deciding the fate of Doughberg Beach. They have reviewed Trump’s permit application and Environmental Impact Statement and have sent a Request for Further Information outlining 51 specific points that they want to be resolved or clarified. Trump has until December 2016 to submit the requested information. At that point, the Clare County Council will make a decision. All sides expect any council decision to be appealed, a process that will last several months more.
To achieve his goals and rally local people, Trump supports his speech on real job blackmail. The Trump International Golf Links & Hotel employs 87 people in low season and up to 201 people at the height of the year. Trump threatens to resell his business in the event that he is not allowed to protect his course against erosion. Another point of pressure, he claims that he will invest in an event center if his wall is built.
Our goal is to obtain the withdrawal of this project.
The opinion of Philippe Maison (coastal development expert at Surfrider Foundation Europe):