Both Athlone and Moate Agricultural Shows could be destined for some much needed financial impetus with the announcement by the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Deputy Michael Ring TD, of a €600,000 funding allocation to events of this ilk in 2019.
All members of the Irish Shows Association (ISA ), of which there are approximately 120, are eligible to receive an allocation of €5,000 each from the Government in an effort to support important rural community events.
Following the announcement, Deputy Ring noted that agricultural shows are an integral event in many rural communities.
"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.
I am delighted to be in a position to provide these shows with financial support to enable the shows invest in and improve their events 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 am delighted to be able to assist them in this way for 2019 and 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 this year and to discuss the allocation for 2019.
The Minister emphasised the huge variety on display at the various agricultural shows held annually throughout the country.
"There is literally something for everyone. It’s not all about livestock. There is entertainment, competitions, craft fairs, cookery 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," the Deputy concluded.