Friday ‘Ploughing’ considered as Storm Ali cancels day 2

The organisers of the National Ploughing Championships are considering opening the event to the public on Friday, Anna Marie McHugh confirmed on RTE Radio 1’s Today with Sean O’Rourke earlier today.

The news followed the announcement that today’s event – the second day of the three-day extravaganza – had been canceled.

Anna Marie said: “We will definitely be open tomorrow (September 20) and Met Eireann has assured us that the wind will abate considerably in the afternoon and it will abate to safe levels for exhibitors to come in to do remedial work.”

She continued: “We are considering Friday. It’s not something we can make a quick decision on because we have to consult with all our exhibitors.

We have to consult with the availability of all of the emergency services and if you take into account we have upwards of 330 Gardai involved, we cannot consider the event opening without the assistance of these people and also all the other services.

Touching on the extent of the damage at the site, she said: “I am looking down at the site from where I am and – all of the big marques and flags – it looks fantastic.

“The wind is dying down now, but there’s quite a substantial amount of hoarding on the ground and the very small structures – the bagodas – a number of them have been dislodged; they are in dangerous positions because there’s polls sticking up and they would all have to be moved.

“There’s quite an amount of remedial work to be done.”

Earlier in the day, Anna May McHugh – National Ploughing Association (NPA) managing director – released a statement in which she said:

“It is with deep regret that due to the adverse weather conditions caused by Storm Ali and following lengthy consultations with the Gardai, Offaly Emergency Services and Met Eireann and on their advisement it was determined that the site was unsafe to open, and as a result today’s National Ploughing Championships will have to be postponed as public safety is of paramount importance to all at NPA.”

All tickets purchased for today can be redeemed tomorrow, the NPA said.