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Relief as rural shows secure €600k funding


Jim Harrison

Jim Harrison

Jim Harrison

A €600,000 fund for more than 100 rural agricultural shows has been secured for 2021, which will help cover the cost of Covid-19-related show cancellations this year.

The money is being provided by the Department of Rural and Community Development.

ISA secretary Jim Harrison (pictured) told the Farming Independent that he has received confirmation from Minister Michael Ring that the money, which was allocated for the 2020 show programme, "has been ring-fenced and will be paid out in 2021" to support the resumption of the events.

"It is good news for the shows and they are not going to lose this money, which is vital to keep them going," said Mr Harrison.

"It is (normally) paid conditional on the shows being held, and many are in danger of having to forfeit their allocation, due to the cancellations under Covid-19 restrictions."

Rural shows are being cancelled at a rate of 8-10 per week because organising committees are unable to meet.

"It is also a challenge that many of their regular sponsors are closed and it is very difficult to look for sponsorship, without which the shows are not viable," said Mr Harrison.

Among the big casualties is the National Livestock Show at Tullamore scheduled for August 9. The organisers of the largest annual livestock event in the country said they were "devastated but really had no option".

The organisers of the Cork Summer Show scheduled for June 20-21 have made no decision yet, but the Charleville Agricultural Show on June 27-28 has been cancelled.

Organisers of the National Ploughing Championships on September 15-17 are "closely monitoring" the situation.

"We do not foresee that a decision will have to be made until much closer to the event," said a spokesperson.

The IHFA Emerald Expo in Co Cavan on April 25 has been cancelled, as has the National Sheep Breeders Association Championships at Cillin Hill in June.

Bloom, scheduled for the Phoenix Park in June, will not go ahead.

The National Hall of Fame Awards 2020 was scheduled for May, but it is now hoped to reschedule for late autumn.

Other Confirmed cancellations

* Armagh County Show (June 13)

* Bandon Agricultural Show (May 17)

* Ballymoney Agricultural Show (June 5-6)

* Belgooly & District Agricultural Show (May 31)

* Dungarvan Agricultural Show (July 12)

* Lurgan & District Horse & Cattle Show (June 6)

* Newry Show (June 27)

* Newbridge College Show (May 10)

* Newmarket-on-Fergus Agricultural Show (May 3)

* Omagh Agricultural Show (July 3-4)

* Westport Horse & Pony Show (May 31/June 1)

Indo Farming