Organisers of the National Ploughing Championships have announced the cancellation of its 2021 trade exhibition.
The NPA executive said it has made the “difficult” following months of monitoring the Covid-19 status and taking into account the governments’ updated roadmap for the next few months.
In a statement, a spokesperson said: “Given the sheer scale of the Ploughing with 297,000 attendees in 2019 and the lack of clarity about what Covid-19 restrictions and regulations will look like in September for outdoor events, it was felt that cancelling the 1700 trade exhibitor event was the only option.”
The NPA executive said public health & safety is of paramount importance to the association.
“Unless the NPA were confident the trade exhibition could go ahead without causing any risk to exhibitors, competitors & visitors, it would not be feasible. As the timeline to start site works is imminent – the NPA just could not wait any longer to make a decision.”
The World Ploughing Contest due to be held in Ireland to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the NPA has also been cancelled “given the extent of current international travel restrictions”.
The NPA managing director Anna May McHugh said, “It’s a massive disappointment to the Association to have to cancel the trade exhibition two years in a row, in particular, when you consider the estimated annual economic impact of €50 million that will be lost to the Irish economy.”
“We are very conscious of the loss of revenue for our exhibitors and the disappointment of patrons. However, the NPA is a strong establishment, we have a massively committed team behind the event, our exhibitors and our patrons have been very loyal over the years and we look forward to bringing the Exhibition back to its full potential in 2022. “
“We will run our National Ploughing Competitions this year and hopefully we can welcome some visitors (pending regulations).”
The plan will be to build a programme of activities around the Ploughing Competitions that will keep the focus on Rural Ireland during Ploughing Week (15th – 17th Sept.).
This will include virtual content promoting exhibitors combined with a week of highly interactive and immersive #Ploughing2021 digital activations for all to get involved with.
The NPA has also confirmed that the event will return to Ratheniska in 2022 from 20th – 22nd September.