Dark times lie ahead for Donald Trump as his legal troubles mount, but his star in Doonbeg has not dimmed.
The divisive ex-President isn’t loved across West Clare for his politics, but locals are grateful to businessman Trump, whose investment on the ground shouldn’t be underestimated.
Anthony Morrissey, a local painter, admits he has a hard time grappling with Trump’s character.
“I can’t understand him at all. I don’t understand his politics, but running a business is another matter.
“Personally, he seems to cause controversy and that spills over into business, and then it’s negative for the village.
“I have my opinions about him, but that’s American politics.
“You would hope that this time when he comes it doesn’t bring negativity, but after the recent controversy with the raid on his house, it’s bad timing.
“But look, he’s done great things for the area, both directly and indirectly.
“You talk about a huge amount of jobs in a very rural area.
“To be honest, he offers great jobs locally. I have family employed there.”
He said they would be far worse off without Trump’s investment in West Clare. “And a lot of houses here are being sold. House prices have gone up quite a bit here.
“The golf course is picking up speed. Business there has really taken off.
“They’re doing some big tournaments and that’s going to draw big crowds to the village again.”
Any local person who Irish Independent spoke staunchly behind Trump’s efforts to build a dam to prevent further coastal erosion from eating away at his golf course.
Trump International has submitted a planning application to Clare County Council to construct the two-mile, 38,000-ton, 15-foot rock face that would protect the dunes off adjacent Doughmore Beach.
The controversial plan said the work was “urgent” to protect three holes at the Trump resort.
The plans were rejected by An Bord Pleanála in 2020.
One of the reasons given was to preserve a tiny protected snail.
The Vertigo angustior, a 2mm narrow-mouthed whorled snail, is thought to date from the Ice Age and is one of three terrestrial snails listed for protection under Annex II of the EU Habitats Directive.
The tiny shelled snail turned out to be a stumbling block for Trump. He wasn’t allowed to build the wall.
Anthony Morrissey wonders if The Donald has been treated unfairly in this regard.
“If you look at it that way, the biggest problem we have here is coastal erosion and he just wants to fix it, but he literally hit a wall.
“If it was someone else who owns Doonbeg, would they let him do the planning? If nothing is done and the dunes are washed away, it will be a disaster.
“Any time it comes up, environmentalists come in and do studies on snails and whatever.
“After all this, the same snail was found up in Donegal and it should only be here in West Clare.”
He said much of the opposition was generated by political opposition to Trump and came from outside the village. “You won’t find too many locals who have anything against him, and if they do it’s only for a little banter in the pub.
“Everyone you meet here and talk about isn’t from here.
“He just came in here and bought a business and ran it. He has good management up there.”
Kit Smalley, 71, a retired chef living on Main Street in Doonbeg, said he and everyone else in the village would welcome Trump.
“The last time he came I made a sign and put it in my window. It read: “Pink Floyd built a wall. So why not Trump?’” He acknowledges the former US President gets some bad press, but shrugs as he says, “I’m British, so is Maggie.”
“He has brought so much to this community. He probably did more good here than there,” he laughs. “I’m not interested in politics anyway. I just can’t be bothered by it. I just want to see how people progress in life.”
Innkeeper Tommy Tubridy, who owns the legendary Tubridy’s Pub on High Street, sighs wearily when he realizes that another journalist is asking him a question he’s been asked many times before. “Does the media never tire of printing the same story? The hotel is fantastic. I would say it has brought 300 jobs to this area.
“Helicopters fly in and out every day. Because of the golf at Doonbeg we are packed here every Wednesday night.”
A girl who works in a coffee shop thinks Trump’s contribution to the region is unnecessarily negative. “Growing up, every transition year student did an internship there at some point because a lot of other places wouldn’t take them,” she said. “There’s nowhere else to go. Most of my friends work there now. They say it’s madness madness.”
Her friend agreed. “Political opinions aside, he’s done great things for Doonbeg,” she said.
Patrick Hynes from Miltown Malbay lived in New York for 41 years and returned to his native West Clare three years ago. He met Trump a few times in Manhattan and found him “very nice”.
“I met him twice at Trump Towers. My friend – lord have mercy on him, he’s dead now – he used to be the bouncer there and I picked him up on the way home from work.
“Trump was great, he was nice, actually there was no problem with him at all. Anyway, he seemed very nice to me.
“He’s a great man and he’s done a lot. I know there are problems with him as a politician, but it’s hard to do justice to everyone.
“He brought great industry to this area and employs a lot of people at the hotel. You always have to think of the positive things.
“No one is perfect in life.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/donald-trump-still-welcome-in-doonbeg-where-the-fbi-or-his-slugs-with-snails-cant-dim-his-popularity-41909138.html Donald Trump is still welcome in Doonbeg, where the FBI or his slugs can’t tarnish his popularity