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Friday, 7 January, 2000, 15:05 GMT
Snails sink golf's 'Great White'

Norman Rare snails could prevent Greg Norman from fulfiling his plans


Australian golfing hero Greg Norman's plans to build a multi-million pound golf course in the Republic of Ireland have been scuppered by a rare breed of snail.

Norman - nicknamed The Great White Shark and famous as much for his devastating defeats as his numerous victories - had hoped to build the 9.9m course in the Doonbeg Golf Resort in County Clare.


snails The snails have delayed the building of the multi-million pound course
But his plans received a setback when a crucial 1.9m European Commission grant was suspended.

The commission said the Irish Government had failed to respond satisfactorily to queries on nature designation.

Environmental concerns were raised last year when it was found that the planned links course is home to the rare protected snail species Vertigo Angustior. Environmentalists want the 100ft high sand dunes, where the snails live, to be protected.

Work began on the development last month. Among its US backers are former Senator and Northern Ireland peace broker George Mitchell.

The Irish Government's Tourism Department rejected the charge, saying its reply to the commission had been both "rapid and detailed".

Commission sources have maintained that "certain items" relating to the project remain outstanding.

But the Irish Government still hopes to secure the grant so that work on the course can continue.

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