Leading article

Irish coastline needs protection

Donald Trump has performed many remarkable u-turns down the years and one of the most striking, with major consequences around the world, including in Ireland, involves climate change.

Just over a decade ago, he was one of dozens of business leaders who signed a full page advertisement in The New York Times demanding immediate legislation on the issue.

"If we fail to act now, it is scientifically irrefutable that there will be catastrophic and irreversible consequences for humanity and our planet," their statement said.

His stance changed dramatically when he became US president, and he has since denounced climate change as `mythical' and `an expensive hoax.'

Boris Johnson is another politician who was previously happy to associate himself with the green agenda, being regularly photographed cycling to engagements and also once promising he would lie down in front of bulldozers to prevent the construction of a third runway at Heathrow Airport in London.

He has taken a completely different approach since he arrived in Downing Street, even claiming last week without citing any evidence that `newt counting delays' were undermining attempts to rebuild the UK economy.

Voters in America and Britain can ultimately assess the performance of their governments but elected representatives in Ireland, north and south, also need to be held to account over their record on the environment.

A particularly striking example, as we reported last week, has been provided at the internationally famous Ballyliffin golf club on the Inishowen peninsula in Co Donegal which hosted the Irish Open only two years ago.

Officials have warned that coastal erosion is a growing threat in the area, with several holes at the course already at risk and a real prospect that the entire complex would no longer be viable within 50 years.

A 3 km pathway along the perimeter of the facility has already gone, as have a car park and sand dunes, and the future of the historic St Mary's Church nearby is also in doubt.

The incoming Dail administration, which includes the Green Party, needs to firmly demonstrate that it will prioritise environmental protection in Donegal and elsewhere.

It might even consult with other interested parties, including the family which owns the Trump International Golf Links further along the Atlantic coast at Doonbeg in Co Clare.

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Leading article