Début du combat : 08/08/2017

 

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 proposed wall on Doughmore Beach would run 2.8 kilometers, reach 15 feet tall, and consist of 200,000 tons of rock dumped in a sensitive coastal sand dune system.  Doughmore beach is one of western Irelands most consistent beachbreaks 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.

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.

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. Over time this will starve the beach of needed sand, negatively impact the surf quality, and ultimately lead to the disappearance of the popular public beach.

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 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.

Le Gardien

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