#Ploughing16: Organisers looking to select Irish site for 2021 World Ploughing Contest

Aurora Rice, Kelly Farrell and Ciara Bracken having some fun at the horse racing Ireland stand. Picture Dan Linehan

The World Ploughing Contest is set to return to the Republic of Ireland in five years, it was confirmed yesterday.

It will mark the 90th anniversary of the foundation of the National Ploughing Association (NPA), which is already planning for the event.

World Ploughing Organisation general secretary Anna Marie McHugh said it will be the sixth occasion the event will be staged in the Republic.

She said the NPA successfully applied to host the 2021 contest a long time ago and is already in the process of selecting a suitable site.

This year’s world contest was held in York, England. Kenya will host it next year, followed by Germany in 2018. It will be held in the United States in 2019 and in Russia the following year, before being hosted by the NPA in 2021.

Meanwhile, the Garda traffic management plan put in place for this year’s national championships was hailed last night as a huge success.

It was facilitated by the central location of the site at Screggan, Tullamore, Co Offaly, and supported by the co-operation of the local community, public bodies, and the National Ploughing Association.

The venue for the 2017 championships has yet to be decided, but it is expected to return to Screggan, following the success of this year’s showpiece.

Chief Supt John Scanlon said gardaí received great co-operation from the people attending the event. The volumes of traffic were huge.

There were minor difficulties at carpark entrances after Wednesday’s rain, but these were resolved by yesterday morning, he said.

“Traffic flowed as well as it ever flowed. Great credit is due to the people themselves for co-operating with the system,” said Chief Supt Scanlon.

“I think they found that by doing so the system worked. People got in with very limited delays, considering the hundreds of thousand of people that came through,” he said.

Chief Supt Scanlon said the Garda traffic management plan put in place for the event worked very well.

“We are very pleased with it and, with the help we got from the National Ploughing Association and with the local county councils in widening roads and stepping up to the plate. Local people were also very co-operative in allowing the fronts of their properties to be utilised.

“It was a huge inconvenience for local people, but they met it as an event that they needed to embrace and they did so. They gave their all in the community,” he said.

Crowds again flocked to the event yesterday. Politicians present included Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald, Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin, the North’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, and Michelle McIlveen, the agriculture minister in the Northern Executive.

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