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Listen in: #NatureTrumpsWalls collaborator, Dr. Andrew Cooper, was interviewed on the Pat Kenny show of Newstalk radio, one of the most popular Irish radio programs. Click here to listen.

In The News

MAJOR VICTORY: Seawall Project Defeated at Doughmore Beach, Ireland

International campaign succeeds against Trump International Golf Links

Update: March 18, 2020

After more than four years of campaigning and fighting to save beloved Doughmore Beach in Ireland, the #NatureTrumpsWalls campaign and coalition has succeeded in stopping the construction of major seawalls that would have led to catastrophic impacts to the coast.

Trump International Golf Links (TIGL) had submitted a plan to place hard armoring 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.  

On March 12th, Ireland’s national planning appeal board, An Bord Pleanála, formally rejected the plan, citing the concerns submitted by the coalition about the adverse impacts to the dune ecosystem.  

“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,” said Tony Lowes, Director of Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE). 

This is a momentous victory for the coastline of Ireland and the local community in Clare County as the Carrowmore Dune ecosystem will continue to protect Doughmore Beach and provide essential ecosystem services, as it has for thousands of years.

Over the years, the proposal has been altered and resubmitted by TIGL, fought against each time by the coalition, and accepted and appealed through Ireland’s court system. But today marks the official defeat of the project.

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

This victory shows that the path to coastal protection is often long and arduous, but a strong grassroots coalition armored with good science, passionate individuals, and persistence can lead to massive wins for our surf ecosystems.

Campaign Update: June 04, 2019

A petition containing over 104,000 signatures opposing the construction of a coastal defence by USA President Donald Trump at his golf course in Ireland is to be presented to him when he arrives on Wednesday, June 5th.

Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) Director Tony Lowes, who is bringing the petition to Doonbeg Wednesday evening on behalf of the coalition, said that they hope to deliver the petition to the hotel for the President so he takes into account the global opposition to this project. FIE, which is a registered Irish charity, have notified the Guards about their intent to deliver the petition.


Campaign Update: Jan. 30, 2019

The ongoing campaign #NatureTrumpsWalls continues! Save The Waves and local partners urger careful consideration from Ireland national planning appeals board in the case against Trump International Golf Links’ seawall in Doonbeg,Ireland.

If approved, the proposed project would allow two seawalls to be built on a public beach to provide ‘coastal erosion management’ for Trump’s private golf resort and cause profound negative impact on Doughmore Beach – a popular surf break and coastline for surfers and beach goers.

The case is still left undecided one year after the appeal. Save The Waves continues to implore the Appeals Board to hear the case and recognize the severe implications of the project on the surrounding coastline.


Campaign Update: Dec. 22, 2017

Yesterday the Clare County Council announced their approval of the Trump International Golf Links (TIGL) proposal for two seawalls at Dougnmore Beach. The approved project would allow two seawalls (630 m & 260m) to be built on a public beach to provide ‘coastal erosion management’ for Trump’s private golf resort. Doughmore Beach is western Ireland’s most consistent beachbreak and very  popular with surfers and beachgoers.

Nick Mucha, Save The Waves Director of Programs said, “Today local politics, fueled by President Trump’s imposing rhetoric, prevailed over a science-based, global opposition”. He added, “We anticipated this outcome and have already begun plotting our next steps with local partners. We will be appealing this decision to the Planning Appeals Board and are hopeful that this will allow for an impartial review of the application. Our body of evidence against this application is highly compelling and we look forward to it’s prudent review.”


Campaign Update: Dec. 05, 2017

Last week, Save The Waves submitted a formal objection to the most recent 400+ page proposal document by Trump International Golf Links (TIGL), where they attempted to demonstrate the two seawalls would not disrupt the natural coastal dynamics at Doughmore Beach. Our objection letter was sent to the Clare County Council as part of the public comment period and outlined our many concerns with the proposal.

The Clare County Planning Department review of the public comment letters alongside the TIGL document will take place over the next few weeks with a final decision expected by December . This decision will their final ruling on the matter however it is possible that both sides might appeal their decision, which would escalate the matter to the federal body.


Campaign Update: Mar. 02, 2017

The second proposal submitted by Trump International Golf Links (TIGL) for two seawalls on Doughmore Beach has been deferred by the Clare County Planning Department.


Campaign Update: Dec. 06, 2016

Trump’s Irish Wall Defeated! Under growing international pressure, Trump International Golf Links (TIGL) has rescinded their proposal for the 3km seawall at Doughmore Beach, Ireland.


Campaign Update: Oct. 2016

With almost 100,000 people signing the online petition in two weeks, Save The Waves’ #NatureTrumpsWalls campaign opposing Donald Trump’s seawall proposal in Western Ireland is gaining major traction.

Campaign Update: Sep. 16, 2016

Save The Waves launches #NatureTrumpsWalls to stop the original seawall proposal – 2.8 kilometers, 15 feet tall, 200K tons – by Trump International Golf Links and then-Presidential Candidate Donald Trump. Project Site: Doughmore Beach, Clare County, Ireland.

Background on the Issue

US President-Elect 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.

Save The Waves is working alongside prominent Irish and European environmental and surfing groups to defeat Mr. Trump’s proposal. The coalition of organizations includes Surfrider Foundation Europe, Friends of The Irish Environment, Irish Surfing Association, West Coast Surf Club, Friends of The Earth Ireland, and the Irish Seal Sanctuary.