Victory for #NatureTrumpsWalls campaign as Irish authorities stop Trump’s “Irish Wall” along coastline

The construction of sea walls along Doughmore Beach in Ireland, coined “Trump’s Irish Wall”, has been refused permission by Ireland’s national planning appeal board, An Bord Pleanála.

An Bord Pleanála formally rejected the plan for the construction of major seawalls, citing that the walls could damage the natural coastal sand dunes.

Trump International Golf Links (TIGL) had submitted a plan to place hard armouing on the natural coastal dunes of Doonbeg that provide sediment for the surf ecosystem and breaking waves, as well as natural coastal protection from climate change.

Tony Lowes, Director of Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE), said: “What was most rewarding was that the Appeals Board followed the scientific advice and set a precedent that will help to protect the long term natural evolution of all of Ireland’s remaining great sand dune systems against even the most powerful development interests.”

The landmark defeat follows four years of campaigning by #NatureTrumpsWalls – a coalition of groups including Save The Waves, Friends of the Irish Environment, Save Doughmore, West Coast Surf Club, The Irish Surfing Association, Surfrider Europe, Irish Seal Sanctuary, and Surfers Against Sewage.

TIGL bought the coastal golf course resort, which stretches along 4.5 kilometres (2.8 miles) of Ireland’s Atlantic coastline, in 2014, but hoped to erect protective walls to shield the resort’s fairways from storms and rising sea levels.

In 2016, at the invitation of local community organisations, Save The Waves helped form a strong coalition to defeat the original proposal for a 2.8 kilometers, 15 foot tall, 200,000 tonne seawall. The #NatureTrumpsWalls was then launched to raise international awareness and incite action, leading to 100,000 petition signatures on Change.org and the signing of over 700 letters of objection.

Donald 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.

Doughmore Beach is one of western Ireland’s most consistent beachbreaks and widely popular with a community of surfers and beachgoers.

In all, 31 acres of pristine sand dunes are legally protected and the system provides a unique habitat for the endangered, 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 nourish the offshore sandbars that make Doughmore Beach a popular surf spot.

Over the years, the proposal has been altered and resubmitted by TIGL, fought against each time by the #NatureTrumpsWalls coalition, and accepted and appealed through Ireland’s court system.

Save The Waves

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com

 

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