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Trade exhibition at National Ploughing Championships cancelled due to pandemic fears

The exhibition was due to take place from 15 to 18 September in Ratheniska, Co Laois.

Image: Niall Carson

THE ORGANISERS OF the National Ploughing Championships have confirmed that the trade exhibition at this year’s National Ploughing Championships has been cancelled.

The exhibition was due to take place from 15 to 18 September in Ratheniska, Co Laois.

Anna May McHugh, the NPA Managing Director, said the loss to the Irish economy will be €50 million.

McHugh said given the sheer scale of the Ploughing, with 297,000 attendees in 2019, and the lack of clarity about what Covid-19 restrictions and regulations will look like in September for outdoor events it was felt that cancelling the 1,700 trade exhibitor event was the only option. 

“Public Health & Safety is of paramount importance to the Association and unless the NPA were confident the Trade Exhibition could go ahead without causing any risk to exhibitors, competitors & visitors it would not be feasible. 

“As the timeline to start site works is imminent – the NPA just could not wait any longer to make a decision,” she said.

“The World Ploughing Contest due to be held in Ireland to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the NPA attracting visitors from 30 countries was also cancelled given the extent of current International Travel Restrictions.

“It’s a massive disappointment to the Association to have to cancel the trade exhibition two years in a row in particular when you consider the estimated annual economic impact of €50 million that will be lost to the Irish economy.  

“We are very conscious of the loss of revenue for our exhibitors and the disappointment of patrons. 

“However, the NPA is a strong establishment, we have a massively committed team behind the event, our exhibitors and our patrons have been very loyal over the years and we look forward to bringing the Exhibition back at its full potential in 2022.   

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“We will run our National Ploughing Competitions this year and hopefully we can welcome some visitors (pending regulations),” McHugh added.

The NPA said that they are now planning a programme of activities around the “Ploughing Competitions” that will keep the focus on “Rural Ireland” during Ploughing Week.

This will include virtual content promoting exhibitors combined with a week of highly interactive and immersive #Ploughing2021 digital activations for all to get involved with.

The association has also confirmed that the event will return to Ratheniska in 2022 from 20 to 22 September.

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