Up to €40 million could be generated from the 2013 National Ploughing Championships because of the location of Laois and its ability to host such a big event it emerged at the lauch of the championships last weekend.
Speaking in Killenard, Peter Carey, Laois County Council’s County Manager, thanked the National Ploughing Association for choosing Laois for an event which he said would have ‘huge significance’.
“When you think of the massive investment and spin off - approximately 180,000 people coming to visit our county, an investment of somewhere in the region of €40 million – it is hugely significant and we are absolutely honoured and thrilled to get this event for Laois,” said Mr Carey.
The choice of Laois was also a vindication for Mr Carey of the council’s policy of promoting the county as a centre for big events.
“We have been saying for a number of years that Laois is the primary location as a centre for any national event because of our centrality, motorway access, national rail network.
“We have proved with the Electric Picnic and other events that we can manage events of this size and nature.
The county manager, who is also head of Laois Tourism, said it could also be part of The Gathering event in Laois.
“From Laois Tourism’s view we are thrilled because it is events of this size and scale that we are always looking for,” he said.
Mr Carey thanked the Carter family and other landowners. He praised the Gardaí and other emergency service for supporting the event from an early stage.
Cllr John Moran, plays a big part in the ploughing championships but he represented Laois County Council at the launch.
“I can’t put into words who happy we are that Laois has been chosen to host the 2013 ploughing championships,” he said.
The councillor appealed to people across the county to get involved.
“Every local organisation, including the council, is really looking forward to this. What we really have to get across is that we need everybody’s support.
“If everyone supports and does their little bit it can make it a big success.
“We’re are asking everyone around the county to put their shoulder to the wheel so that we can make a big success of this,” he said.
Cllr Moran said the Mr Peter Carey ‘did everything his power’ to persuade the ploughing association to come to Laois.
Officially confirming Laios as the location, James Sutton, Chairman of the National Ploughing Association, said he expected a big success..
“Stradbally for me was the venue for one of the biggest steam rallies in Ireland and more recently one of the biggest picnics in Ireland.
“In 11 months time one of the biggest festivals in Europe will descend on the area. Without doubt it is the biggest week in the agricultural calendar, 1,300 exhibitors, 340 of the finest ploughmen and upwards of 340,000 spectators. Ratheniska will never be the same again,” he said.
Mr Sutton told the Leinster Express that the problems with traffic in 2012 made the committee decide to return to the midlands. meetings to look at how all.
Government politicans Charles Flanagan TD of Fine Gael and Senator John Whelan of Labour both welcomed the announcment .
Sen Whelan believed that the championships could be tied into The Gathering.