THE Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring TD, has today (Tuesday) said that a €600,000 allocation by his Department to agricultural shows represents an important investment in rural communities and the rural economy. Minister Ring was speaking today (Tuesday) as he announced funding to support approximately 120 agricultural shows around the country which are due to take place in 2019.
Each show is eligible to receive €5,000 from the government in an effort to support these important rural community events. This investment is being carried out in coordination with the Irish Shows Association (ISA) and the recipients are all members of that Association. Last year Minister Ring introduced funding to support agricultural shows taking place in 2018 in recognition of the difficulties experienced by shows in recent years.
Minister Ring said: “This represents a substantial investment in rural communities and in the rural economy by the government. I know that this funding will provide a huge boost to the agricultural shows that are such an integral part of our rural culture. They are a showcase for local communities and for all that is good about rural Ireland.
“At the Bonniconlon Show in Mayo yesterday, and at other shows I have visited this summer, I have seen the impact of the funding I allocated for this year’s shows. I am delighted to be in a position to provide these shows with financial support to enable the shows invest in and improve their shows for the summer of 2019.
“Agricultural shows are a great celebration of rural culture which contribute significantly to the local economies of towns and villages and their hinterlands across Ireland. They are only able to continue because of the commitment of local volunteers. I know that many shows experienced difficulties in recent years and I hope that this funding will help the shows overcome issues that may have hindered them. Smaller shows have particularly struggled in recent years and I am providing these shows with the same amount as larger shows, recognising the particular pressures being faced by these smaller shows.
“I’m delighted to be able to assist them in this way for 2019. I look forward to sitting down with the Chairman of the Irish Shows Association in the autumn to review the benefit of the funding provided to all the shows in 2018 and to discuss the allocation for 2019."
The Minister emphasised the huge variety in local agricultural shows: “There is literally something for everyone. It’s not all about livestock; there is entertainment, competitions, craft fairs, cookery and other demonstrations and competitions. These shows are a real celebration of local heritage. I’m delighted to be supporting this opportunity to celebrate and shine a spotlight on the best that local people and their communities have to offer visitors from near and far.”