Major row breaks out over TD letting slip 2019 Ploughing Championships venue
A major row broke out at the National Ploughing Championships after the location for next year's event was prematurely let slip by a Fine Gael TD keen to give some good news to his own constituency.
Pat Deering, the Fine Gael chair of the Agriculture, Food and Marine Committee, was taking part in an event with Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan and Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy when he finished his speech by saying: "I look forward to welcoming you all in Carlow in 2019."
Afterwards, he admitted that he had let slip the location of next year's event, saying he had "heard it on the ground".
However, Anna Marie McHugh, general secretary of the National Ploughing Association, hit out furiously at the Carlow Kilkenny TD, saying he had no authority to make the announcement.
"It's a bit surreal to be making any announcements on behalf of other people," she said. "I can quite categorically confirm to you that neither I nor our association at any time had any discussion with Mr Deering about next year's Ploughing Championships."
Ms McHugh said that sites in Offaly, Kildare, Carlow, Tipperary, Wexford, Laois and Kilkenny were under consideration for the national, world and European ploughing championships for the next number of years.
She said they were still negotiating with landowners and that land prices were also sensitive.
"We run the national ploughing championships and we negotiate with landlords and yet Mr Deering seemed to think he had the knowledge and liberty to make an announcement on this," she said.