Plans by the Trump international golf resort to build a sea wall of beach defences beside its resort at Doughmore bay near Doonbeg in Co. Clare has been refused permission by An Bord Pleanala.

In a decision published today An Bord Pleanala said it was not satisfied that the proposed development of a wall of rock armour protection would not adversely affect the integrity of the Carrowmore Dunes located on the beach adjacent to the Trump golf resort.

Clare County council granted permission in 2017 for the major development of protections works to include two new structures along the southern and northern end of the dunes.

It included the excavation of existing sand, the use of sheet piling backstops with soil nailing, geotextile underlay, armourstone protection to the sheet pile with sand and cobbles currently in the beach being used to form a dune profile over a distance of 609 metres at the southern end of Doghmore Bay,  and a further 256 metres at the Northern end.

The development structure was planned to be 12-metres seaward out from the existing dune face. It was envisaged the excavated sand be stored as part of ongoing replenishment and future site management.

A number of bodies objected to the development including the Friends of the Irish Environment, An Taisce, the West Coast Surf club, and the Save the Whales Coalition because of fears about the impact on the landscape, on structure of the dunes which are located in a special area of conservation, on the flora and fauna of the area and on birds and sea animals of the location.

An Bord Pleanala said it was not satisfied that the proposed development individually or in combination with other plans and projects would not adversely affect the integrity of the Carrowmore Dunes in view of its conservation objectives.

The planning body also said the site is located in an area of high landscape sensitivity and quality and is recognised as an area of high tourism importance and amenity value and it is the objective of the Clare County Development plan to ensure that developments do not interfere with the recreational use of the area. 

Independent for Clare Michael McNamara said he was very concerned about the decision to refuse permission for the coastal defence development. He said we need to look very carefully at the decision to see how the dunes and the golf course as well as farms and homes behind these dunes can be protected in a manner compatible with the environment.

Fianna Fail TD for Clare Cathal Crowe said he is concerned that not only will the lack of coastal defences result in more flooding in Doonbeg, and that they could see a planned €40million development at the resort deferred or cancelled. This could have a huge impact on the Doonbeg resort itself and the wider community, he added.

The Trump resort employs 300 people, and the proposed development to build a new ballroom, leisure facilities and additional holiday homes at the resort was due to employ an estimated 100 people.

The company had put the development on hold pending the decision on the coastal protection works which were designed to protect the dunes from the destruction caused by the strong storms of recent years.