When Donald Trump unexpectedly won the electoral college vote in the US presidential election earlier this month, one Irish community was deemed to be euphoric at the news. Many residents of the coastal village of Doonbeg in County Clare – home to a Trump International Golf Links and Hotel, and supposedly now dubbed ‘Trump Town’ – expressed positive feelings about the incoming 45th President of the United States, with hopes that he would visit the area at some point after he takes office in January of 2017.
But other locals are less enthused about the future President Trump’s potential impacts on Doonbeg and have been making their feelings known. In yet another controversial plan involving a wall, the future president applied for permission earlier this year to build an almost three-kilometre-long seawall to protect his County Clare resort from flooding, which the property has been vulnerable to in the past. The application is said to have cited coastal erosion and rising sea levels as reasons for requiring the wall, in spite of Trump’s public position as a climate change denier at the time (he appears to be reversing himself at least slightly since winning the election).
The proposal has seen stiff opposition from both Irish environmental and surfing groups and the general public, with a petition against the wall, at the time of writing, having earned more than 100,000 signatures. Adding to the list of anti-Trump hashtags that already includes #NotMyPresident, the effort to stop the project has been tagged under #NatureTrumpsWalls. If approved, petitioners say the 15-foot-tall €10 million seawall would be built in a designated Special Area of Conservation – a sand dune habitat that is a vital habitat for an endangered species of snail called the vertigo angustior, or narrow-mouthed whorl snail. It would also restrict public access to the beach, and negatively impact surfing conditions in the area.
In response to objections raised, the Trump organisation have been given until the end of 2016 to supply more information on the proposed project to Clare County Council before a decision is made. Donald Trump’s son Eric has said that without the seawall, the course and hotel could potentially close.