Moving Balmoral Show to its current location on the outskirts of Lisburn was a stroke of genius on the part of those who made that decision.

First and foremost, available space for the event no longer became an issue. The current site could facilitate three Balmoral Show equivalents and the requisite parking facilities to boot.

But more than this, the current show site is within touching distance of the main arterial motorway link between Belfast and Dublin.

Currently, it takes one hour to get from Dublin Airport to the Sprucefield slip-road off the M1 (Northern Ireland), which is about one mile as the crow flies from the Balmoral Show site.

After that, however, everything falls apart. Small country roads and lanes convey vast numbers of cars and buses from the motorway to Balmoral’s front gates. It was an unmitigated disaster.

Moving Balmoral Show

When the move from Belfast to Lisburn was made, now almost a decade ago, the vision was to turn Balmoral into an all-Ireland event in a truly meaningful way.

But from the get-go, the need to build a spur off the motorway directly into the showgrounds was identified as a key priority in this context. 10 years have passed and the new road has yet to be constructed.

Now I know it takes real money to get this type of project completed, but, given the potential prize on offer, I thought the powers that be within the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS) would have made a real effort to develop some real traction on the matter.

And it’s not a case of the society coming up with all of the money. I am sure a strong enough business case could be made to target a fair degree of public funding for the envisaged project.

The need to drive synergies across Irish agriculture as a whole makes total sense to me. And the RUAS can and should be at the heart of all this.

The organisation is located in the heart of a very strong tillage area, encompassing parts of counties Down and Antrim.

That I am aware of, the National Ploughing Championships has never come north of the border. I see no reason why this should not be allowed to happen.

All the local ploughing organisations across Ireland are closely aligned to each other. So hosting the National Ploughing Championships at Balmoral would represent a very innovative way of joining up all these dots.

But without the aforementioned road, nothing of this nature is going to happen.