Agricultural shows lose out due to reduced community

Several county councillors have this week expressed concern that the county's agricultural shows have not received funding under this year's Community Support Scheme.

Grants totalling €252,500 under the scheme were approved at this week's meeting of the Galway County Council, with more than 160 groups across the county receiving grants ranging from €500 to €8,000.

However a reduction in funding for the scheme in this year's local authority budget meant that fewer grants were available.

Cllr Niamh Byrne said she understood that the shows had received funding from the Department of Rural and Community Development this year. However she pointed out that this funding was ringfenced for improvement works. "The money from the community grants was to run the shows, so it's very disappointing to see the shows weren't included this year," she added.

The council had agreed to reduce the total allocation for the Community Support Scheme this year by €150,000 — amounting to some 40 per cent of the available funding for grants — and Cllr Byrne said the omission of the agricultural shows was a "knock-on effect" of this.

Cllr Jimmy McClearn also decried the lack of funding for the agricultural shows, but acknowledged it was a result of the hard decisions made by the council when passings its budget.

"We ourselves as councillors took a decision, and this is the consequence of it," Cllr McClearn said. "We cannot expect, by cutting the funding by 40 per cent, that the same level of funding would be available."

Director of services Alan Farrell told the councillors that a number of groups had not been successful in securing funding under this year's scheme; however he said the council was working to identify other sources of funding for these groups.

Mr Farrell said the local authority could review the situation next year with regard to funding for shows. He pointed out that funding could be available to the shows under a range of other schemes.

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