The National Ploughing Association (NPA) will bounce back from losses of €1m incurred over the last two years, NPA assistant managing director Anna Marie McHugh has maintained.
McHugh said there was a strong appetite among farmers and exhibitors for the National Ploughing Championships to happen in 2022 and she predicted that the event would make a successful return.
The NPA incurred losses of €656,240 for the 12 months to the end of January 2021 as a result of the cancellation of the National Ploughing Championships in 2020 due to COVID-19.
The association recorded losses of €418,480 for the 2019-20 financial year due to increased costs.
With this year’s Ploughing also cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions, the NPA is set to incur further losses.
The 2020-21 accounts show that the NPA had a turnover of just €152,000 last year, while the association’s administrative expenses totalled €809,000.
Retained earnings at the voluntary body remain high at €12.3m, but were back around €650,000 on the 2019-20 accounts when the figure was €12.97m.
McHugh expressed disappointment and frustration at the absence of support offered by the Government to organisations such as the NPA.
“What set the Ploughing apart from everybody else?” she asked.
“Everybody could get Government support during COVID. That has been the hurt from our perspective, that everybody else was eligible but we were not,” she said.
However, she said the association’s focus was on organising the 2022 championships and she expressed confidence that there was a hunger in the sector for the event to return.
“The event has always been able to carry itself,” McHugh explained, adding that people were “dying for events like the Ploughing”.
She said people never had to be cajoled into going to the Ploughing.
“We don’t know what we’re facing into next year but the priority is having the event,” the NPA official said.
McHugh stressed that next year’s Ploughing could be tailored to meet whatever conditions and advice are put in place, and that the association will also listen to the views of the public.
“We’ll build the event to what our patrons and exhibitors want and need,” she said.