Jim Allister accuses Stormont of failing Northern Ireland ploughing champions

TUV leader Jim Allister has accused Stormont of failing Northern Ireland’s ploughing champions.
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Mr Allister pointed out this week that Northern Ireland has produced a disproportionate number of Ploughing World Champions, yet he claimed the government has done nothing to help with the huge costs involved in such competitions.

He continued: “When I asked in an Assembly Question how much has been contributed over the last ten years this was the pitiful reply: ‘The Northern Ireland Ploughing Association (NIPA) organise the annual International Northern Ireland Ploughing Championships which are usually held over two days in September, with winners representing Northern Ireland at World, European, 5 Nations and Irish Championships. In the period 2010 to 2019 my Department provided financial sponsorship of £3,650, ranging from £230 to £350 per annum, to the NIPA. Arrangements are in place to provide sponsorship at a similar level to previous years should the 2022 Championships go ahead.

‘However we are not in a position to provide direct assistance to individual participants. The NIPA may be able to offer advice on sponsorship opportunities from other sources.’

Jim AllisterJim Allister
Jim Allister

Mr Allister continued: “A derisory £350 is the maximum contribution made by DAERA over ten years and that for mere modest sponsorship, but nothing to help in the large costs involved in sending ploughmen and equipment to compete.

“Ministers are quick to hail success, but do nothing to help!

“Ploughing is both neglected and excluded from all sporting assistance, yet our international ploughmen bring great credit and focus to our Province.

“I call on the Agriculture Minister to urgent address this issue.”