€840,000 funding pledged for country's struggling agri-shows
Over €800,000 has been promised to help the country's agricultural shows which have been struggling to bear the costs in recent years.
With a number of high-profile cancellations, and other shows in difficulty after harsh weather decimated attendances, the Government has pledged to give funding of €7,000 each to 120 shows around the country.
Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring said the €840,00 funding will ensure that the small shows get a greater level of assistance.
"They are a showcase for local communities and for all that is good about rural Ireland," said Mr Ring.
"These shows are only able to continue because of the commitment of local volunteers, and I know that many have encountered financial difficulties in recent years or have lost significant money as a result of the weather."
The funding will be distributed in co-ordination with the Irish Shows Association (ISA), and the 120 shows represent the members of the association in the Republic.
Among the heavy costs that shows have to absorb to run the events are ambulance cover, printing event schedules and catalogues, advertising in local papers and radio, buying rosettes and trophies and then covering the cost of food and expenses for judges.
Michael Hughes, national secretary with the ISA, said it was thrilled to reach this stage as shows "around the country are really struggling for the last number of years".