Plough event will give €20m boost to local economy

THE three-day National Ploughing Championships, which Taoiseach Bertie Ahern will open at Grangeford, Tullow, Co Carlow, tomorrow, will be worth approximately €20 million to the region’s economy.

A huge demand for hotel, guesthouse, bed and breakfast and other accommodation has been reported within a 30-mile radius of the venue, where a serviced tented town has been developed for the rural pageant.

Coping with 200,000 visitors to the event and the American Express golf championships, at nearby Mount Juliet, have created a major logistics challenge.

Gardaí will put a traffic plan in place across several counties at dawn tomorrow for the start of the championships on a site made available by Kevin and Kevin Paul Nolan and their neighbours Larry and George Byrne, with other landowners providing additional car parking.

Some 150 gardaí, supported by the force’s aerial, mounted and detective units and 500 National Ploughing Association stewards will be deployed to ensure that people can go and come from Grangeford in safety and with minimum delay.

The traffic blueprint involves detours, one-way systems on minor roads, parking restrictions, emergency routes, designated car parks with coloured identity codes, two-away garda vehicles and a series of Automobile Association and local direction signage.

Inspectors Aidan Boyle, Baltinglass and Gerry Redmond, Carlow, who are co-ordinating the plan, which will become effective from 6.30am tomorrow, said the detours will be clearly signposted and manned by gardaí.

The championships will involve 310 competitors in 17 national finals and two international competitions,

Agriculture Minister Joe Walsh will be present tomorrow for one of his last official functions, before retiring from office.

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