It didn't take long for Donald Trump to get the lawyers involved at Doonbeg. According to the Irish Examiner's Fiachra Ó Cionnaith, Trump "has threatened to hold Clare County Council responsible for any income lost as a result of 'obstruction' of his efforts to carry out vital remedial works at his west Clare golf course.
The American billionaire bought the Co Clare resort for a reported €15m in February and has been reinforcing the coastal defences to his Co Clare links after it suffered an estimated €1 million in erosion damage during the winter storms.
According to the Irish Examiner:
"The damage included 30 metres of coastline erosion which “accelerates daily” into the golf course due to wind and surge tides; significant flooding and drainage issues; the loss of greens, tees, and “critical” irrigation components”; and the fact that five holes are currently out of service.
Mr Trump said the situation risked making the course “unplayable and inoperable”, meaning his investment was potentially being put in jeopardy without storm defences.
However, Clare County Council’s parks and wildlife service warned that the use of rock armour “may cause more damage to the site” and that such damage ran the risk of court proceedings.
In a follow-up meeting, the course owners were told they “could not undertake works without going through the required planning process” and “no short cuts were available”.
After initially suggesting the course may close “with the loss of 350 jobs” if the defences continued to be blocked, Mr Trump’s solicitors agreed to meet all planning conditions.
Trump also has the added problem of the microscopic snail that could derail plans to completely revamp the golf course. Links expert Dr Martin Hawtree already contracted to undertake a major study of the terrain.
As the Examiner reports:
"A court case in 2000 saw the rare narrow-mouthed whorl snail, known as Vertigo angustior, receive protection from the State due to its endangered status. This “letter of comfort” status means the owner of the site must pay for an extensive annual report by a qualified scientist to provide updates on the snail at Doonbeg.