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Trump refused permission to build wall at Irish golf course

Environmental campaigners call the decision a "momentous victory."
Image: Marine One carrying President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump departs Doonbeg Golf course for Shannon airport, in the County Clare village of Doonbeg, Ireland
Marine One carrying President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump departs Doonbeg Golf course for Shannon airport on June 7, 2019.Clodagh Kilcoyne / Reuters file

LONDON — A golf course and hotel owned by President Donald Trump has been refused planning permit to build a sea wall designed to protect the fairways from coastal erosion by authorities in Ireland.

Bord Pleanala, the country's planning appeals board, said in a decision published Wednesday that it was not satisfied that the proposed development at Doonbeg in the western county of Clare would not adversely affect the sand dune habitat at the site, effectively ending the chances of it being built.

The move was welcomed by the Friends of the Irish Environment campaign group, which had challenged to proposal to build two barriers around 625 meters (2,050 feet) and 250 meters (820 feet) in length, above the water line at either end of the beach near the course.

Calling it a "momentous victory," a spokesman for the group, Tony Lowes, told NBC News that the decision would protect local ecosystems that had been in place for thousands of years.

“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," he added.

Trump International Golf Links Ireland Enterprises Limited, which is owned by Trump's family had initially planned to build a a 1.75 mile armourstone wall up to 20 meters (65 feet) wide and 5 meters (16 feet) above the waterline to protect the course from rising sea levels and storm damage at Doonberg in the western county of Clare.

But after a campaign by environmental groups including Friends of the Irish Environment, the club’s management revised its plans in December 2016.

Permission was granted by the local county council for the revised plans in October 2017, but that has now been overturned by the planning appeals board.

The resort did not immediately respond to request for comment on the decision.

The Trump Organization employs about 300 people at the resort — where the president stayed during an official visit to Ireland last year — and is one of the biggest employers in west county Clare.

A planned 40 million euro ($43 million) development comprising a new ballroom, leisure facilities and 53 more vacation homes was on hold pending the board’s ruling.