Donald Trump publicly calls climate change a ‘hoax’ but now wants to build a giant seawall in Ireland to protect his luxury golf course from climate-induced sea level rise. Trump has consistently derided climate change science, yet he specifically cites global warming as justification for the seawall. The Environmental Impact Statement he submitted for this controversial project states:

“If the predictions of an increase in sea level rise as a result of global warming prove correct, however, it is likely that there will be a corresponding increase in coastal erosion rates not just in Doughmore Bay but around much of the coastline of Ireland. […] The existing erosion rate will continue and worsen, due to sea level rise, in the next coming years, posing a real and immediate risk to most of the golf course frontage and assets.”

Save The Waves Coalition has launched #NatureTrumpsWalls, an international campaign to defeat the controversial seawall proposal. The campaign directs people to sign the online petition, urging Clare County Councilors to reject the proposal at Doughmore Beach. Construction of Trump’s ‘Irish Wall’ would restrict public access, negatively impact a widely popular surfing wave, and carry grave consequences for the pristine dune system it would transect.

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 Ireland’s most consistent surfing spots and popular with a deep community of local surfers and beachgoers.

Trump’s golf course is built along an expansive 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, the 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 nourish the offshore sandbars that make Doughmore Beach a consistently fun surf spot.

Seawalls are increasingly under scrutiny for their adverse long-term impacts on beaches. Over time, seawalls have proven to accelerate erosion at adjacent beaches, lead to beach ‘narrowing’, and, in some cases, total beach loss. In this instance they will also block the sand exchange needed between the beach and the dunes. 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 nourish sandbars in the ocean. It is a continuous cycle that depends upon strong winds and open coastline. Building a huge seawall at the foot of the sand dunes will unquestionably disrupt the natural process and lead to the dunes’ demise.

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, Surfers Against Sewage and the Irish Seal Sanctuary.

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Media Contact
Nick Mucha, Director of Programs