US tycoon Donald Trump has said he will invest up to 45 million euro (£36 million) in a renowned storm-ravaged golf course he bought in the west of Ireland.
The property mogul – on a three-day visit to inspect the Doonbeg links in Co Clare – said he would redevelop the protected dunes in an environmentally sensitive way amid concerns for a microscopic snail.
Mr Trump said he would double or triple his initial 15 million euro investment in Doonbeg – secured earlier this year at a knockdown price after financial trouble and severe erosion saw the asking price slump.
The billionaire New Yorker said he plans on creating a golf circuit from the Greg Norman-designed Co Clare course, to the Open Championship course at Turnberry and on to his resort on the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire.
“Turnberry will be part of the Trump Triangle as we call it. And the other is my course in Aberdeen – literally a straight line from here to Turnberry and on to Aberdeen,” he said.
“We are already in contract for an incredible helicopter that will connect the three dots with guests and we think that is going to be a tremendous amount of business.”
Mr Trump said hundreds of jobs will be created through his investment in Ireland.
“I don’t have enough time left to do the boring ones,” he said.
“This is one of those that is going to be truly iconic. This is going to be one that Ireland is going to be extremely proud of.”
The businessman flew in to Shannon Airport on his Boeing 757 jet emblazoned with the logo of Trump International along with his sons Donald Jnr and Eric and daughter Ivanka.
He was met at the airport by Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Clare Mayor Joe Arkins and other officials.
Mr Trump said he has been contacted by organisers of the Irish Open and European Tour bosses to discuss holding tournaments at Doonbeg.
After initially being served with a “stop work” order, the tycoon last week got the go-ahead for protective works on dunes on the course, now known as the Trump International Golf Links and Hotel Ireland.
He is also preparing to apply for permission to put in boulders to act as breakwaters in a bid to prevent further erosion of dunes, swathes of which were devastated in winter storms.
Doonbeg, a renowned beauty spot on the Co Clare coast, is protected by strict environmental concerns for a microscopic snail which has been around since the Ice Age – the narrow-mouth whorl snail, or vertigo angustior, which measures about 0.9mm wide and 1.8mm in height.
Mr Trump has hired golf course designer Martin Hawtree to work on Doonbeg.