Trump's Irish seawall has been defeated

March 19, 2020 | Surfing
Doughmore Beach: surfers defeated Donald Trump's seawall project | Photo: Save the Waves

After more than four years of fighting to save Ireland's Ireland, the campaign "Nature Trumps Walls" won the battle against concrete.

The Irish national planning appeal board - An Bord Pleanála - rejected Donald Trump's plan to place major seawalls on the natural coastal dunes of Doughmore Beach, in Doonbeg.

Trump International Golf Links (TIGL) had submitted a plan to build a 2.8-kilometer, 15-foot tall, 200.000-ton seawall in the shoreline of the West County Clare village.

The local dunes provide sediment for the ecosystem and the surf breaks and natural coastal protection from climate change.

The hard armoring project was formally rejected, citing adverse impacts to the Carrowmore Dune ecosystem.

An Bord Pleanála is an independent, quasi-judicial body that decides on appeals from planning decisions made by local authorities in Ireland.

"What was most rewarding was that the appeals board followed the scientific advice," explains Tony Lowes, director of Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE).

"It also set a new precedent that will help protect the long-term, natural evolution of all of Ireland's remaining great sand dune systems against the most powerful development interests."

Persistence Pays Off

Save The Waves Coalition was in the battlefront against Trump's golf resort interests since 2016.

The non-governmental organization helped form a strong alliance to defeat the original TIGL proposal.

The #NatureTrumpsWalls campaign raised international awareness, collected 100,000 petition signatures, and resulted in the signing of over 700 letters of objection.

Over the past four years, TIGL's proposal was changed and resubmitted, but it has now finally been defeated.

The groups who joined Save the Waves and claimed this historic win include Surfrider Europe, Surfers Against Sewage, the Irish Surfing Association, West Coast Surf Club, Irish Seal Sanctuary, Save Doughmore, and Friends of the Irish Environment.

"This victory shows us that the path to coastal protection is often long and arduous," underlines Save the Waves.

"But a strong grassroots coalition armored with good science, passionate individuals, and persistence can lead to massive wins for our surf ecosystems."

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