Thousands of students arrive by bus


ATTENDANCE FIGURES:SOME 71,500 attended the championships yesterday, 19,500 more than on the first day and 2,500 more than the same day last year.

National Ploughing Association director Anna May McHugh said pre-sale tickets had been very strong so the figure came as no surprise.

Good weather has been forecast for today, and organisers said another large crowd was expected.

The second day of the championships is the traditional day for students and they came in their thousands yesterday. Some 210 buses were counted in one car park.

Macra na Feirme, the young farmers’ group, used the day to highlight the “alarming” number of suicides among farmers and young people in rural areas.

Its president, Alan Jagoe, said the group wanted to highlight positive mental health and urge young people and farmers to actively protect one of their greatest assets. They were supported by See Change, the initiative to reduce the stigma around mental health issues.

A survey by Macra na Feirme found that 81 per cent of respondents felt depression was a problem for young people. Almost two-thirds said unemployment was the biggest cause, followed by family issues, social barriers and young people leaving rural areas.

Mr Jagoe said: “The numbers of suicides in this country, particularly among farmers and young people, is alarming, and we want to play our part in letting our members, and other young people, know that if they need help it’s a positive step to seek help, that there is no shame in that.”