122 agricultural shows right across the country are set to benefit from €1 million in funding from the Department of Rural and Community Development, writes farming journalist, Catherina Cunnane.
The record single investment in agricultural shows represents a 40% increase on last year’s allocation, according to Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, who made the announcement on Thursday, June 22nd, 2023.
The grants from the Department of Rural and Community Development will support show committees in staging their events over the summer season.
This year’s €1 million allocation brings the total allocated to agricultural shows since 2018 to almost €3.3 million.
The Department of Rural and Community Development will work with the Irish Shows Association to administer the scheme for 2023.
2023 ag shows
Announcing the funding, Minister Humphreys said:
“Our agricultural shows sum up all that is good about rural Ireland. They are intrinsically linked to that sense of community that our rural towns and villages are known for.”
“The shows are key dates in the summer calendar and are a central point for the agri-food industry, the farming community and our local artisan producers.”
“These shows are also a fantastic family day out, where people come to catch up and enjoy a truly unique experience.”
“With entries travelling from far and wide to compete, the local show has something to interest everyone through its wide range of activities and competitions.”
“I want to thank and pay tribute to the Irish Shows Association, who I was delighted to meet in recent weeks to discuss their plans for the upcoming summer season.”
The minister added that she appreciates that without the effort of the local show committees, volunteers and local organisations, these shows would not be able to operate.
This, she explained, in itself is a testament to the great sense of community which remains a key feature of country life.
This increased funding under ‘Our Rural Future’ will help to cover some of the operational costs associated with running these shows – costs which have increased in line with inflation, she outlined.
Social and economic importance
Welcoming the funding, national secretary of the Irish Shows Association (ISA), Jim Harrison, added that agricultural shows are “so important” in rural Ireland for two reasons – their economic value and their social value.
“They bring great economic benefits to our rural towns and villages. And they also bring such social benefits – which can never be bought.”
“I again want to thank Minister Humphreys and her department, and I encourage everyone to attend their local show this summer.”
Raymond Brady, president of the ISA, added that this support will help ISA shows to grow and continue to host these vital, informative and enjoyable rural events, run by an “incredible” group of volunteers who want to contribute to ‘our rural future’.