Thousands of people have attended the Tullamore Show and FBD National Livestock Show today, following a three-year break due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Organisers estimate the attendance a this year's event, at the Butterfield Estate in Blue Ball, Co Offaly, is way up on other years, which they put down to several factors including the good weather and pent-up demand after the enforced break due to Covid.

The Tullamore Show is the biggest one-day agricultural event in the country.

The national livestock show is a chance to display pedigree cattle considered to be amongst the best in Europe.

There were over 1,000 exhibits and competitions.

Tullamore Show Chairman Joe Molloy said the committee is pleased with the huge turnout.

"It looks to be busier. Just look around, it's unreal to see people out enjoying the day again. The amount of time and effort that has been put into this show," said Mr Molloy.

The show is taking place against a backdrop of deep unrest and concern amongst farmers about the carbon emissions targets set by the Government last month.

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Farmers are being asked to reduce carbon emissions by 25% from 2018 levels by 2030.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue, who officially opened the show, said he believes the targets are achievable.

"We need to be very clear that the key role of farmers is going to be what it always was and is going to be more important in the years ahead, which is producing food, because that's getting more difficult to do across the world and we have to do that," he said.

"But we have to, in doing so, minimise the emissions footprint of it and I believe that this something that will make Irish agriculture stronger in the years ahead and that can lead to improved farm incomes in the years ahead but it will require change and adaptation," he added.

The Irish Farmers’ Association expressed concern today and said the beef sector should be celebrated as a unique national asset and not denigrated.

"If you take agriculture out of rural Ireland you’re going to decimate that economy. 170,000 employed in the sector up and down the country. It’s important we maintain that sector, maintain the people in rural Ireland" IFA President Tim Cullinan said.

"I’ve been speaking to people from early this morning and they’re supportive of our stance and they want to continue doing what they’re doing, producing top quality food in one of the best countries in the world to do that" he added.