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Saturday 3 December 2016

Taoiseach: 'Get out there and understand Fine Gael's story'

Geraldine Gittens

Published 23/09/2015 | 09:50

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Anna May McHugh arriving to the 2015 National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, County Laois on Wednesday morning
Pic:Mark Condren
23.9.2015
Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Anna May McHugh arriving to the 2015 National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, County Laois on Wednesday morning Pic:Mark Condren 23.9.2015
Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Superintendent Joseph Prendergast arriving to the 2015 National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, County Laois on Wednesday. Pic:Mark Condren

Crowds heading to the national ploughing championships can expect heavy delays at peak times again this morning.

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Gardai are on duty around the roads leading to the 800-acre site again this morning to help direct heavy traffic, particularly at the peak time between 7am and 10am.

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny arrived early to visit some of the 1,500 stands around the site, as well as the ploughing fields themselves.

Visiting the Fine Gael tent, he asked his followers to "get out there and understand the story we have to say as a party".

Fine Gael has set out a five-year programme now that the party is in "election psyche", he said.

He said the €30m in funding announced today aimed at reviving recession-hit rural towns and villages, will expand opportunities in rural Ireland.

The funding can be used for a range of purposes like "the acquisition of a site, the development of a green site", he said, and it is "not just the giving of money to someone, but the use of money to expand opportunities".

He described the ploughing championships as a "wonderful occasion and a great expression of rural Ireland".

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Managing  Director of the National Ploughing Association (NPA) Anna May McHugh will today be awarded a high honour by the French Government - by being named Officier de l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole - as a recognition for her work organising one of Europe's largest agricultural fairs.

Meanwhile, fashion is also high on the agenda today. Competitions for the Most Appropriately Dressed male and female will be judged this afternoon. A spokesperson for the NPA said judges will be looking for a winner who is stylish, but yet dressed suitably for the elements.

Ireland's biggest motoring showroom will also be on show at Ratheniska, with a 20pc increase in motoring exhibits, according to an NPA spokesperson.

Despite weather forecasters predicting some showers to fall, organisers are hoping that today's crowd will surpass yesterday's tally of 77,500 people.

Up to 280,000 people are expected to attend the event over the three days.

If you are opting for public transport, a shuttle bus service will be in operation from Portlaoise and Portarlington Train Station to the site. The times of this service will operate to suit the train times.

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