Storm Ali Sees Second Day Of The Ploughing Cancelled
Day two of the National Ploughing Championships has been cancelled as Storm Ali continues to batter the country.
The event in County Offaly was twice delayed this morning before the decision was taken to cancel.
In a statement, the event's managing director Anna May McHugh said the decision had been taken with "deep regret" after "lengthy consultations" with the Gardaí, Offaly Emergency Services and Met Éireann.
"On their advisement, it was determined that the site was unsafe to open and, as a result, today’s National Ploughing Championships (NPA) will have to be postponed as public safety is of paramount importance to all at NPA," she said.
As soon as the winds have died down work will "continue in earnest" to get the site up and running in time for tomorrow's event, she said.
"The NPA would like to thank the general public for their patience and understanding," she said.
She said all tickets purchased for today can be redeemed tomorrow.
Update 11.40: Exhibition arena to remain closed today(Wed, Day2) of ##Ploughing18 further updates later. We thank the public for their understanding.— National Ploughing (@NPAIE) September 19, 2018
The event has only ever been completely called off once - due to the outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease in 2001.
It did open its doors a week late in 1965 - as snowy weather took hold of the country.
Storm Ali Damage at the National Ploughing Championships in Tullamore , Co Offaly. Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews
Organisers said this morning's delays were for health and safety reasons, with sustained wind speeds of 65 and 80 kph with gusts of between 110kph and 130kph forecast.
People waiting outside the National Ploughing Championships in Screggan, Co. Offaly waiting to see if gates will open. Final decision due at 12 pic.twitter.com/WF3HuDWLRH— Stephanie Rohan (@StephGrogan3) September 19, 2018
More than 97,000 people attended the first day of the event yesterday.
Organisers say the event will go ahead tomorrow and today's tickets will be valid.
While an extra day has been added on Friday to make up for the cancellation.