THE role that shows play in rural life has been praised by Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith, when he officially launched the Irish Shows Association 2009 Year Book in Roscommon town.
The show season begins on May 2 and 3 in Thomastown, Co Kilkenny, and Newmarket-on-Fergus (May 3) will kick-start the showing season which will continue until the first weekend in October at Ballinasloe, Co Galway.
Mr Smith said shows have made a remarkable contribution to the agricultural industry. They provide a showcase for the industry, with the finest livestock, horses, farm and horticulture products on display, he said.
“Agricultural shows provide an opportunity for people involved in the industry to parade all that is best about their chosen profession to the public at large,” he said.
Mr Smith congratulated ISA national secretary Michael Hughes, of Mountbellew, Co Galway, on the quality of the year book.
The Agriculture Minister said it is an essential reference and guide for upcoming agriculture shows and championship events in 2009.
“The publication is a wealth of valuable information such as the dates and contact details for all 2009 shows, a list of judges, and the ever important and often debated list of rules. I am sure the book will be pride of place on many a bookshelf,” he said.
Mr Smith praised the work of the ISA more than 50 years and in particular the fact that it has a membership of more than 130 members drawn from the whole island. He also congratulated the judges who have successfully completed their training and who were awarded their certificates.
Mr Smith also praised the work and dedication of the association’s committee, headed by chairman John Browne.
Mr Browne said the wet weather last year affected many shows but he organisers to keep trying.
“This year we hope for a change in the weather which would help the successful running of all shows,” he said.
Stressing that safety at shows was all important, he said: “Everyone must continue to be vigilant. I hope we have accident-free shows.”
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