Picking up the pieces: ‘All day it was just a rumour mill’

Exhibitors hit hardest by Storm Ali at this year’s National Ploughing Championships have been picking up the pieces and striving to get up and going following the destruction left yesterday (Wednesday, September 19).

Speaking to AgriLand presenter Claire Mc Cormack yesterday on AgriLand’s live broadcast in Screggan, Co. Offaly, Peadar Glennon from the Irish Simmental Cattle Society described how the storm had affected his society’s stand.

“Our own marquee got a bit of structural damage because the adjoining marquee actually blew in on top of it this morning.

“We were in at 7:00am to see the cattle luckily enough and then we were back out, so we didn’t know what was happening between then an 1:00pm, but luckily enough the cattle within the marquee were all perfect and we got away lucky on that.


“We’ll get the damage fixed when we get the marquee off; we’re still waiting to get that marquee removed from on top of our own, but hopefully when we get that done in the next hour, we’ll get the roof patched up and will be ready to go again tomorrow.

Peadar said that the day’s event probably should have been called off earlier than happened, as weather conditions were not suitable from early morning.

“At about 7:30am today, when we were put out this morning, and we could see the damage the wind was doing – it was very hard to see a situation which would arise that they could allow people back on site again today.

I suppose maybe they delayed too long in making that decision this morning in actually calling it off.

“That’s with the powers that be – but certainly it was hard to see a situation when there was debris flying about that they were going to actually be allowing people back in.”

The big worry for the Irish Simmental Society was of course, the animals penned on-site at the stand.

“We had 20 cattle on site, we still have 20 cattle on site. Now thankfully they were relaxed all through the storm, there was no problem there.”

Friday implications

However, other implications from the storm are not as straightforward for the society.

“I suppose the issues that will arise for us is the extra day that we’re here, Friday is confirmed.

Look, people have to take the extra day off to be with their cattle, if we can get people to do that, we’ll have to, actually accommodation has to be booked for the people that are exhibiting the cattle, so there’s a lot of add-on factors that have to be taken into account.

“I suppose maybe there couldn’t be consultation with the exhibitors but there certainly was none; we were just told Friday was going ahead. There’s a lot of stuff to be, you know.”

Regarding the lack of communications from the organisers, Peadar noted that rumours were springing up among the crowd, causing plenty of confusion.

All day it was just a rumour mill up around in the livestock section all day – first of all was tomorrow going ahead, then rumours started that Friday was going to be an extra day, so it was actually a rumour mill up until about maybe 4:45pm when it was actually confirmed.

“So people were just in the dark and it was creating a lot of anxiety among exhibitors who didn’t know had they to book Friday off or what had they to do.

“People have their own farms at home and they have to book extra staff in to look after the cattle at home so there’s just a lot of add-on factors that have to be taken into account.”

However, Peadar remained positive going forward, hoping to have the stand back in action soon.

“Bar the fact that our colleagues’ tent is up on top of our own, it’s actually not bad, so we have a guy on stand-by ready to fix the roof, but other than that, an hour and we would be good to go again.”