Saturday 16 December 2017

Official Ireland ploughing on and on

The Parade of Champions at the National Ploughing Championships in Screggan, Tullamore Co Offaly. Photo: Steve Humphreys
The Parade of Champions at the National Ploughing Championships in Screggan, Tullamore Co Offaly. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

It is clear to all of us now what needs to happen. The National Ploughing Championships need to become a permanent event. A few days every year is not enough to contain such joy. The ploughing needs to run 365 days a year, 24/7, like our very own Vegas. Maybe we could even adapt that old motto about Vegas. What goes to the Ploughing, stays at the Ploughing.

The main reason we should keep the Ploughing going all the time is because it is actually the only thing done in this country that we do not make a balls of.

No other event of this size could be conducted without some kind of ticketing scandal or massive waste of money or planning corruption. But the Ploughing just happens and there is never any need for an inquiry afterwards. Questions do not need to be asked. People do not need to be called before the PAC. Neither the AG nor her close relation, the C&AG, needs to complete a report.

The second reason is because it makes so many people happy. Obviously, there are the farmers. They love it. For most of them, it is their only day or two off in the year, when they take a break from the 24-hour tyranny of constant cow milking and poverty to go off and buy a hundred grand's worth of Massey.

And then there's everyone else. The politicians love it. For them, it is a chance to get out and meet the rural brethren in a nice relaxed environment, maybe wearing a pair of wellies to show they have a personality. For them, it can be a permanent canvass amongst the canvas.

Media outlets also like to get down to the Ploughing to show they are happy to mingle with the common folk who pay their wages.

For the RTE crowd, the Ploughing is like all their summer schools have come together. They get positively giddy as they decamp down there among rural types who actually still get excited about meeting minor celebs.

Indeed, if the Ploughing was to become a permanent situation, then RTE could proceed with the plan to sell off Montrose and it could operate instead from a field in the midlands. This would have the handy side effect of meaning RTE was situated right next to the Houses of the Oireachtas, which would of course be relocated to the Ploughing on a permanent basis too.

Michael D could live down there too in a castle made of Magee tweed, taking up the permanent position of King of the Ploughing, the highest office in the land, with his queen, Sabina, by his scythe.

Every day at noon, he could read from his new book of his collected speeches as his people swooned.

Indeed, all of official Ireland could happily decamp permanently to the Ploughing, letting its hair down in Dubarry.

And stay there. After all, what goes to the Ploughing stays at the Ploughing.

Sunday Independent

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