LED by the Mountbolus Pipe Band, the large group of dignitaries made their way to the stand for the officially opening of the Tullamore Show on Sunday.
As well as local politicians the event had an international flavour, with the Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, Loyola Hern as well as the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Agricultural Minister Michelle O’Neill both in attendance.
Even the sporadic showers did not discourage the audience who just upped hoods and opened umbrellas to hear the speeches.
MC for the event Freda Kinnarney paid tribute to all exhibitors, competitors and supporters for making the show such a success.
Chairman George Gill said the show was the perfect example of what can be achieved when people pull together. “That’s what the show was about,” he said, adding he was delighted to see the amount of support for the show.
John O’Hara, Chairman of the National Show Committee said the show to the industry was what All Ireland day was the Croke Park. “All the shows in the country look to Tullamore,” he said.
He said the committee helped shows by providing insurance and a level playing field for all involved. He said he was delighted to see exhibitors from all over the country. “If you came for the next ten years you wouldn’t see all that it is in Tullamore,” he said.
AIB Regional Director Eddie Buckley described the occasion as an integral event in the Irish farming calendar. He praised the innovation, dedication and commitment of all involved. He said it was a show for people of all ages.
The event was officially opened by Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Shane McEntee who described it as “the show of all shows”.
“In a time when we need a buzz word, agriculture is the buzz word,” he said. He added now was the time to take off the shackles in agriculture.
“We’ve got to get our people to think agriculture again. The budget is tight but we will support industries who need it most. It is up to producers to get out and produce more,” he said.
He added that parents should also encourage their children to take an active role within the agricultural sector. He said everything associated with boosting the industry would create jobs.
Minister McEntee also paid tribute to former Taoiseach Brian Cowen whom he said was very good to him when he entered the Dail.
“I’m in no hurry to go home,” the minister concluded.
Ms Kinarney said there was an infectious buzz all over the show. She highlighted the fact that the show was celebrating 20 years since its revival and said maybe now “50 is achievable.”
The ceremony concluded with an official blessing by Canon David Hutton Bury, Rev Joe Gallagher, Rev Ruth Gill and Rev Martin Kearney.
See this week’s Offaly Express (August 17) for extensive coverage from the Tullamore Show. Will spot yourself in out two page photographic spread?