'It should have been cancelled' - Mixed reaction as Storm Ali delays National Ploughing Championships
A number of people have expressed grievances on social media after the opening of Day 2 of the National Ploughing Championships in Offaly was delayed further this morning.
Organisers announced the site would be closed until 11am on Tuesday but in an update on Wednesday morning, pushed that out 'until further notice.'
It's understood the NPA hope to open the site at 12 noon as thousands of people wait in their cars and in traffic around Screggan to access the event.
The initial delay came after crunch talks between the NPA and Met Éireann following the national forecaster's decision to extend a Status Orange wind warning to Offaly as a result of Storm Ali.
The storm made landfall in Ireland early on Wednesday morning, bringing 80km/h winds and gusts of over 120km/h to much of the country. A number of incidents have already hit Offaly this morning with numerous trees down, including one falling on a car in Clara, causing minor injuries to the occupant.
Posting on Twitter, Pat O'Keefe, Head of Farmer Relations with Glanbia, said, "Sitting in car on site at Ploughing18 since 9am. Wind gusts still strong so no likelihood of access anytime soon. The Met Eireann status Orange warning issued yesterday at 4pm was in place until 1pm today and included Co Offaly. Today’s event should have been cancelled at that point."
Sitting in car on site #Ploughing18 since 9am. Wind gusts still strong so no likelihood of access anytime soon. The @MetEireann status Orange warning issued yesterday at 4pm was in place until 1pm today & included Co Offaly. Today’s event should have been cancelled at that point— Pat O'Keeffe (@Pat_O_Keeffe) September 19, 2018
Also noting the adverse weather, Clare FM's James Mulhall said:
The @NPAIE will review the situation again at 11.30 to see if it’s safe to open the gates at noon, most people returning to the cars to wait it out. Winds picking up majorly in Offaly— James Mulhall (@JamzMulhall) September 19, 2018
A number of others echoed similar sentiments:
#ploughing18 @IrishCountryLiv Do not be fooled. Ali is getting stronger here. The NPA need to get people away from this site. Make a definite decision now in the interest of safety. A shed near us here is about to lose its sheeting! Stands are flattened.— Katherine O' Leary (@Kat1OLeary) September 19, 2018
The Ploughing should be cancelled today! This is a joke.. The wind is insane and doesn't seem to be slowing down. If it actually opens at 12 (which I really don't think it will) by the time exhibitors have stands ready, there'll only be a few hours left. #Ploughing18— Leslie Walsh (@leslierobyn) September 19, 2018