Tanaiste Mary Coughlan who opened the 182nd Iverk Show with chairman, Walter Walsh. Photo: Eoin Murphy

Tanaiste Mary Coughlan who opened the 182nd Iverk Show with chairman, Walter Walsh. Photo: Eoin Murphy

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Tánaiste and Enterprise, Trade and Employment Minister Mary Coughlan was on hand to officially open the Iverk Show in the Showgrounds in Piltown on Thursday last.

“The Iverk Show is a tremendous credit to the people of the area,” she told the gathering assembled before the main pavilion.

“This show represents a community of people coming together to share in the work and to celebrate their efforts and achievements on an annual basis.”

During her opening comments, Minister Coughlan pledged to “fight the good fight” in defending Irish farmers during the ongoing World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks.

“Yes, there are difficulties in the economy at present but we believe, given the opportunities that are likely to emerge within the next 18 months to two years, that a recovery is likely,” she said.

The Tánaiste didn’t take too many questions specifically dealing with the economy at the Showgrounds, just 24 hours after the Budget was brought forward to next month from its traditional December date.

Away from matters economic, Iverk Show President Joe Malone held the Tánaiste to her word when it came to her adjudicating on the Maid of Glanbia Dairy Heifer Class.

“I am looking forward to the challenge and I hope that I won’t be too far off the mark,” she said – and that she was not!

Joe kept her busy, viewing the contestants in the ring alongside New South Wales judge Jenny Grey, who had travelled all the way from Australia with her husband for the event.

Jenny agreed with the Minister’s choice of best cow – namely ‘Elitestreet Toystory Peach’, superbly presented on the day by owner John Hurley of Clonpaddin, Arklow, Co Wicklow.

Glanbia Chairman Ger Herlihy praised the Iverk Show committee and also referred to his company’s satisfaction with its recent American whey acquisition.

While the price of milk was not debated in Piltown, Joe Malone was hopeful of an increase that would be met with satisfaction by all farmers.

Iverk Show Chairman Walter Walsh also welcomed the Tánaiste and describe as one of the “best agriculture ministers we’ve ever had”. He also spoke about the need to sustain the fight against the Mandelson proposals in the WTO talks that would have “sold Irish farmers out”.

Kilkenny County Council Chair Tomás Breathnach praised the Iverk Show for its community contribution, describing it as “a showcase of agriculture”.

Minister for Food Trevor Sargent was also in attendance, and visited the bustling Food Tent. He later attended the Terra Madre event in Waterford.

It was a pity that the tent was supported by less traders this time around, with some cheese producers finding the regulations and restrictions put in place last year simply too tough to meet and not worth the hassle.

Another trader pointed out to the Munster Express that the regulators are stricter at Iverk than they are at the Electric Picnic or at some of the other markets around Ireland.

While health is of course important and with traders doing their utmost to meet regulations, they also need some encouragement, so we hope Minister Sargent will take note.

Many of the foods for sale, such as bread and pies were of the highest quality. Such food is encouraged by the Slow Food Movement who also attended the show.

Unfortunately, the rains came to Iverk this year and took some of the good from the event, with numbers slightly down due to the conditions.

A range of attractions, including vintage tractors and cars, dogs, archery and showjumping of a very high standard, proved popular once more at the Barony Meeting.

So well done again to all at Iverk even if the weather gods did not, for once look kindly upon this section of South Kilkenny soil.