Busy day's ploughing in New Ross


Today marks the busiest day of the National Ploughing Championships as thousands of school children descend on the site at Heathpark, New Ross.

People were queuing to have their wristbands checked at 9am.

Some 52,000 attended the opening day of the three-day farming festival yesterday, a drop of 19,000 on last year's opening day but organisers said they were very happy with the attendance, given the weather conditions.

Many visitors reported problems leaving the site yesterday, with some cars taking up to two hours to get out of car parks.

Gardaí are asking motorists travelling to New Ross from the M9 to exit at Junction 5 Carlow or Junction 8 Kilkenny to avoid the long delays experienced yesterday on the N25 from Waterford.

There has been little improvement in weather conditions this morning with wind and rain beating the tented villages but Met Eireann said conditions should improve in the afternoon.

Today's ploughing competitions include vintage and horse ploughing as well as the often-commented upon "Farmerette" class for women.

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney was one of the early visitors to the site, having left Cork at 5am.

He said he was doing all he could to help farmers cope with the after-effects of the bad summer and had brought payments forward where possible.

"On the 16th of October, about half a billion euro will be going out to Irish farmers across the country," he said.

"The other half of that money will be coming in December and of course this week we'll have about €150 million of support going out to farmers that are farming in disadvantaged areas."

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