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'Like an earthquake hit': Heavy traffic out of Screggan as Ploughing cancelled due to weather

Tents, portable toilets and signage have been blown over and the event is off for the day.

Updated Sep 19th 2018, 2:35 PM

2858 Traffic_90554330 Source: Sam Boal

THERE’S STILL HEAVY traffic on routes out of the National Ploughing Championships site near Tullamore this afternoon after the second day of the event was called off due to the extreme weather. 

Organisers last night announced that they would put the start time back to 11am today as a result of an orange alert warning for much of the country, including Co Offaly. 

That was revised back again to midday this morning, with ticket-holders arriving at the site in Screggan told to remain in their cars as the situation was reviewed. 

A decision was later made to call off the event for the day due to damage at the site. 

It had been expected the extreme winds would pass by around 10am this morning, but the gusts were heavier and the storm slower moving than expected. 

RTÉ’s Agriculture and Environment Correspondent George Lee, who is at the site today, told the News at One that it looked “a little bit like an earthquake hit” in some areas. 

Some significant tents had been blown down, but others were fine, Lee said. Signage, bins and portable toilets have also been blown over.

Ploughing Championships cancelled storm damage Source: Sam Boal

2658 Storm Ali_90554294 Source: Sam Boal

The event is due to go ahead as normal tomorrow. Organisers are considering opening on Friday too, as a result of the disruption. Tomorrow was due to be the final day. 

97,500 people attended the Ploughing yesterday and a similar number would have been expected there today. 

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There have been significant delays leaving the car park in the wake of the decision to cancel today’s event, made shortly before midday.

One exhibitor who arrived at the site earlier this morning told TheJournal.ie she had been stuck in traffic for more than three hours after she decided to leave – and that she could still see the Ploughing site from the road.  

AA Roadwatch reported that traffic was heavy on most routes around the site this afternoon. 

The National Ploughing Association, which runs the event, said on Twitter this afternoon

The NPA would like to thank exhibitors & the public for your patience and understanding re. today’s site closure following consultations and on the safety advice of the Gardai, Offaly Emergency Services and Met Éireann. Exhibitors will be kept updated with direct contact via email.

- With reporting by Adam Daly

About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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