Tullamore Cocktail goes down a treat

WHAT do you get when you mix an infectious rural spirit with a heritage of producing quality food and animals, nourish it with good whiskey and add an invigorating range of country lifestyles?

You get a Tullamore Cocktail, which was tasted by up to 40,000 people yesterday on a splendid 200-acre site in Charleville Estate, one mile outside the Co Offaly town. Despite heavy showers, this marvellous feast of rural pursuits proved to be yet another huge success. The statistics behind Tullamore Agricultural Show, incorporating the Powers Gold Label National Livestock Show, gave a flavour of what was involved. It cost over €350,000 to organise and had a total prize fund of €120,000 for 850 classes.

Overall entries of 7,500 including 1,300 cattle and 1,100 horses were up 6.8%. There were 300 trade stands. And there was a tented village covering four acres. A total of 650 stewards, helpers and executives were involved in running the country’s premier show, organised by an executive committee of thirty-five people.

It is headed by John Cleary, chairman, Michael Fox, vice chairman and Freda Kinnarney, secretary, with John O’Hanlon as site operations manager.

Matt Dempsey, editor of the Irish Farmers Journal, who officially opened the event, where 40 national titles were decided, said Tullamore Show continues to gain in size and status.

“We need a good summer livestock show and Tullamore meets that need, with a combination of a wonderful venue in a central location, together with first class organisation and a hugely hard working voluntary corps.”

IFA president John Dillon called on Farm Minister Joe Walsh to address the worsening situation on farm incomes with beef, milk and grain prices all falling in an extremely difficult year for farmers. He said he had requested an urgent meeting with the minister to address the key issues affecting farm incomes and falling prices across the main commodities.

ICSA president Charlie Reilly said the various livestock exhibitors at the show demonstrated a dedication and work ethic in the pursuit of excellence that would prosper under any reformed CAP.

He said he was disappointed to hear farm leaders and Mr Walsh imply that farmers were looking for an opportunity to sit around doing nothing.

ICMSA president Pat O’Rourke said the wage bill in the food processing sector will have to be capped if Ireland is not to lose competitiveness on international markets.

Any new national agreement must address the escalating costs in all areas including food processing. Costs generally, but wages and insurance in particular, must be controlled and reduced where possible, he said.

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