Full steam ahead for Balmoral Show

The Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS) has confirmed that the 2021 Balmoral Show will take place as a public event in September.

RUAS chief executive Alan Crowe commented: “We remain fully committed to this objective. Obviously we will have to comply fully with the Covid-19 regulations that are in place at that time.

“However, the vaccination roll out is continuing apace and Covid-19 infection rates are falling, all of which gives hope that Balmoral Show can take place in the autumn.”

He continued:“We are in constant communication with commercial exhibitors, livestock breeders and all relevant government departments.

“Our plans will be guided, very much, by the views conveyed to us by all these relevant stakeholder organisations. What’s more, all of these groups will be given sufficient time to fully prepare for this year’s show.”

The RUAS representative went on to confirm that Balmoral Show is much more than a public event, adding: “It is the shop window for Northern Ireland’s farming and food sectors. These industries have a combined annual output that exceeds £4 billion, putting them at the very heart of the local economy.

“Balmoral Show is at the very nerve centre of all this. Eighty per cent plus of the food that we produce is exported. Given this backdrop, the need to have a vibrant Balmoral Show has never been greater.

“The RUAS was established as a charity to promote and encourage best practice within the farming and food sectors. This work will continue.”

The news that the RUAS remains fully committed to a Balmoral Show in the autumn follows on from the confirmation that both the Royal Highland and Royal Welsh Shows have received significant Covid-19 support funding.

And the figures involved are more than significant. It has already been put into the public domain that the organisers of the Royal Highland have already received support totalling £750,000 with a request for a further £250,000 now in the pipeline.

In the case of the Royal Welsh Show, it is believed that the organisers have already received £400,000 with a request for an additional £400,000 also made.

Not surprisingly, Alan Crowe firmly believes that the Stormont Executive should be supporting Balmoral Show. He commented:

“We have already been in contact with all the relevant government departments at Stormont on this matter.

“Given the events of the past 12 months, the case in favour of a Covid-19 support package for Balmoral Show is extremely strong.”

Last year, the RUAS recorded a deficit of £983,000. The cancellation of the 2020 Balmoral Show contributed significantly to this state-of-affairs.

The society’s financial director Theresa Morrissey confirmed that cost-saving steps will be taken during the period ahead to redress this matter, citing this as normal business practice.

She also indicated that the format of this year’s Balmoral Show can be tweaked so as to allow the event to fully comply with public health regulations.

Meanwhile, the RUAS is also confirming that full planning permission has been received for elements of the developments envisaged for the former King’s Hall site in Belfast.

Alan Crowe again: “Building work is about to get underway on the final phase of the BT9 housing development. This will account for 16 of the 32 acre site.

“I can also confirm that full planning has now been secured for the health and well being complex that will centre on the King’s Hall and the land adjacent to it.

“The monies generated from these projects will help secure the financial stability of the society and its plans for Balmoral Park for many years into the future.”

This year’s Balmoral Show will take place between Wednesday September 22nd and Saturday 25th. The RUAS has confirmed that the 2022 event will take place between Wednesday May 11th and Saturday May 14th.

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