UUP MLA, Rosemary Barton, asked the minister, Edwin Poots, why no financial support for agricultural shows, that are members of the Northern Ireland Shows’ Association, has been offered following a loss of income due to Covid-19.
In response, Mr Poots revealed representatives from a number of agricultural show organisations have been in contact with DAERA to highlight the adverse effect of Covid-19 on their sector, resulting in all shows being cancelled in 2020 and many cancellations in 2021.
“Show organisers were asked to provide details of the direct expenditure associated with the preparation of shows in 2020 and 2021, which have subsequently been cancelled,” the Agriculture Minister stated.
“Department officials have now completed an assessment of the information received, which I am currently reviewing as part of wider considerations for future support options for this sector,” Mr Poots concluded.
Earlier this year, Northern Ireland Shows Association (NISA) chair, Ann Orr, warned that Northern Ireland’s agricultural shows will not survive unless they secure government support.
“The Executive at Stormont must step in and support the local shows now.
“If this does not happen, many of them will have no option but to call it a day,” she stated.
“Such a development would be a tragedy for rural communities right across Northern Ireland.”