Sunday 20 April 2014

Ploughing rush will be picnic for gardai after 10 electric years

JP Betts from Cahir polishes up a Claas Combine Harvester

THE Electric Picnic has proved a useful training ground for gardai working to manage a crowd of up to 200,000 at next week's Ploughing Championships.

A major traffic plan to manage crowds attending the three-day agricultural festival at Ratheniska, Stradbally in Co Laois, was unveiled yesterday.

However gardai said that while the ploughing attracted a "slightly different crowd", their 10-year experience of managing the Electric Picnic just a mile up the road was excellent preparation.

The site's proximity to major motorways including the M7 and M8 meant that traffic should not be caught in major snarl-ups as occurred at last year's event in New Ross.

Local garda Mick O'Connell said that while there would inevitably be small delays close to the site, the experience of Electric Picnic which attracts 35,000 people suggested these would not be major.

The heaviest traffic was expected to travel on the M8 from Munster and the M7 from Dublin but these would benefit from the very good road network.

Motorists should follow signs for the event directing them to the correct carpark for that route rather than relying on Satnav, said Garda O'Connell.

Some local roads close to the event would be made one-way for short periods during the event to manage traffic flow and there would be a large number of gardai on duty to direct drivers.

Garda O'Connell urged motorists not attending the show to avoid the N80 Portlaoise to Carlow road if at all possible as they could face delays and said drivers experiencing any problems could phone Portlaoise garda station at 057 8621105.

Irish Independent

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