Record-breaking stalwart fears for rural shows’ future

Pictured at The Tullamore Show was Amy Edgewoods, Wiltshire, England with her Hereford in The Young Handler Competition, which she won.
Pictured at The Tullamore Show was Amy Edgewoods, Wiltshire, England with her Hereford in The Young Handler Competition, which she won.
Paddy Ryan

A farmer who has devoted a lifetime to fostering community spirit in his neighbourhood in east Limerick will soon start work on organising his local agricultural show as secretary for his 60th year.

The all-time record in the history of agricultural shows in the country has been achieved by Paddy Ryan, who will complete his 59th year as secretary when the curtain comes down on the 64th annual agricultural show at Cappamore, Co Limerick on Saturday evening (August 18).

“Immediately after we finish with the show for one year, we are beginning the organisation for next year,” he says.

The show held the record of never having had a wet day in its first 50 years, while innovation to give the event the widest appeal is its hallmark.

On Saturday, Agricultural Minister Michael Creed will join a panel including former Ireland rugby player Tony Buckley and Jim Woulfe (CEO, Dairygold) for a forum on fodder and mental well-being.

Paddy, though, fears for the future of agricultural shows.

Paddy RyanPaddy Ryan

Paddy Ryan

“I am very concerned that the amount of totally unnecessary, administration and regulations which have been foisted on the rural shows, for no practical benefit that I can see, could be the death knell of them in the future,” he says.

“The local agricultural show is vital to bring the community together and develop a community spirit which has lasting benefits for other aspects of rural areas as well.

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“The loss to a rural area of the local agricultural show can be tremendous, because the community is the poorer without the spirit of working together for the common good, which has a lot of benefits to offer for the betterment of the parish and the community.”

Ireland’s 120 agricultural shows will be eligible for grants of up to €5,000 Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring has announced.

Minister Ring has said that a €600,000 allocation by his Department to agricultural shows represents an important investment in rural communities and the rural economy.

The funding will funding support approximately 120 agricultural shows around the country which are due to take place in 2019.

Each show is eligible to receive €5,000 from the Government in an effort to support these important rural community events.

This investment is being carried out in coordination with the Irish Shows Association (ISA) and the recipients are all members of that Association.

Last year Minister Ring introduced funding to support agricultural shows taking place in 2018 in recognition of the difficulties experienced by shows in recent years.

Indo Farming

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