Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

The Balmoral Show - did the RUAS move sites too soon?

Ulster Bank lunch at the 2013 Balmoral Show - Lorna Robinson and Karen Loughran. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Ulster Bank lunch at the 2013 Balmoral Show - Lorna Robinson and Karen Loughran. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has pledged her support for the continued growth of the agri-food industry in Northern Ireland during a visit to the 2013 Balmoral Show on Thursday. The Minister spent the day touring the Showgrounds and meeting representatives from the food processing industry along with the wider agri-food community. 
Pictured with Arlene Foster during a visit to the Dale Farm exhibition, was David Dobbin, Chief Executive.
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has pledged her support for the continued growth of the agri-food industry in Northern Ireland during a visit to the 2013 Balmoral Show on Thursday. The Minister spent the day touring the Showgrounds and meeting representatives from the food processing industry along with the wider agri-food community. Pictured with Arlene Foster during a visit to the Dale Farm exhibition, was David Dobbin, Chief Executive.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2012 -
First day of the 2013 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at the new site, Balmoral Park. Performers at the entrance to the Balmoral Show.
Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2012 - First day of the 2013 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at the new site, Balmoral Park. Performers at the entrance to the Balmoral Show. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

The Balmoral Show is a great institution and a wonderful showcase for Northern Ireland's agricultural industry. Its former site at the King's Hall in Belfast was proving too expensive and the move to the Maze allowed the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society the chance to expand its show while being more cost-effective. On the face of it that seemed a win-win situation.

But on the first day of this year's event it was clear that the roads infrastructure in the area around the new site is not capable of handling the huge crowds wanting to attend. The question now being asked is did the RUAS move sites too soon? The drivers who found themselves in hours-long traffic jams would answer with a resounding 'Yes'.

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