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Donald Trump faces Irish wind farm battle

Donald Trump is investing 12.4m in his Irish golf course. Picture: Getty

Donald Trump is investing 12.4m in his Irish golf course. Picture: Getty

  • by TRISTAN STEWART-ROBERTSON
 

US TYCOON Donald Trump could find himself again plagued by a wind farm near one of his signature golf courses – but this time in Ireland rather than ­Aberdeenshire.

Just days after announcing his £12.4 million investment in a County Clare centre instead of a second course in Aberdeenshire, it emerged that a plan for nine wind turbines two miles south of Mr Trump’s newly acquired resort in the town of Doonbeg will be considered by the Irish local authority in the coming weeks.

Mr Trump lost in the Court of Session last week against the Scottish Government over an offshore 11-turbine wind farm near his luxury golf course on the Menie estate. He withdrew plans for the second course after the defeat.

The billionaire has repeatedly spoken out against the £230m European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) in Aberdeen Bay. Last week, he declared that wind farms were “a disaster for Scotland”.

On Friday, Mr Trump directed further written attacks on First Minister Alex Salmond and ­Aberdeen City Council on Twitter over the wind farm plans and praised the Irish government.

He said: “My new club on the Atlantic Ocean in Ireland will soon be one of the best in the world – and no-one will be looking into ugly wind turbines!”

He also wrote: “The Irish government is too smart to destroy their beautiful coastline w/ bird-killing, ugly wind turbines. @AlexSalmond @AberdeenCC”.

The Irish wind farm proposal states the turbines will be up to 126 metres high.

Campaign group Friends of the Irish Environment won a two-year fight last August against a previous proposal for a £1.6m development of 45 ­turbines.

Director Tony Lowes said they will file another objection to the nine-turbine proposal.

He said: “We are preparing an objection to the new plan. Our concern is that while developing renewable energy, we don’t risk our most valuable nature sites.”

Mr Lowes said an intervention from Mr Trump would carry more weight than the objections of an environmental group. He added: “We need to clarify whether the wind turbines will be visible from the golf course.”

The existing Doonbeg Golf Club in County Clare will be renamed Trump International Golf Links, Ireland, and will stretch across 400 acres. It will be the 16th golf club in the Trump portfolio and the first Trump hotel in Ireland.

Co Clare must meet a national target of producing 40 per cent of energy from renewables by 2020, requiring a doubling of the area’s 2011 wind turbine approval rate. The council’s development plan for 2011-17 shows the pressure to approve local wind farms and last year’s refusal of the £1.6m proposal was said to have left 79 landowners missing out on payments.

The decision by Clare County Council on the latest application is due on 30 March.

Clare County Councillor Patrick Kelly, who represents Kilrush, which includes the luxury golf resort, said Mr Trump’s position on wind farms would make the application’s success unlikely.

He said: “Whatever objections were there already will be multiplied. One because the other application failed and two because of the golf club.”

 

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