I thank the Cathaoirleach and I welcome the Minister of State, Deputy Joe O'Brien, to the Chamber. I tabled this Commencement matter this morning to ask for an update on the funding for show societies. We have 120 show societies in Ireland and they are a very important part of our rural fabric. The show societies are, in fact, a great celebration of what we do really well in rural Ireland. They are a real boost to the local economy. They attract visitors from both urban and rural settings to visit these shows. They give a flavour of what happens on the farm.
In my own constituency we have a plethora of wonderful shows. We have the Cork Summer Show, the Belgooly, Ballygarvan, Bandon, Barryroe, Bantry, Dunmanway, Carbery and Clonakilty shows, the Leap horse show, the Schull show and the west Cork breeders show. This amazing line-up of 12 shows in west Cork shows us the rich heritage we have when it comes to agriculture itself. Funding these shows is obviously a big issue. Organisations and voluntary groups come together and work very hard to raise the funds to run these shows. Insurance, as we are all aware, is also an issue. The economic environment we have been in, particularly for the past two years, has been a significant issue for the show societies in raising money to run these shows.
I am here to look for clarity on how we can put funding together for the show societies for 2022 so they will have the opportunity to show what they can do. These shows illustrate to society what agriculture is about, show the very best in animal husbandry and show different kinds of animals. For a family man, it is a wonderful opportunity to go around and see what can be done at local level with regard to food, agriculture, machinery and livestock. The plethora of things that one can get at a show is wonderful. The 12 shows in our part of west Cork are very significant driver in our economy. That is something we need to protect and work on. We need to put a framework in place to support these show committees. They are made up of lay individuals doing their best for the community. I ask if the Government could possibly find funding for these committees. I acknowledge that the Government did so previously when a line of funding was made available for show societies. I am looking for clarity about where that funding is for 2022 and where we are going to go in regard to supporting these very important entities for Ireland and, in particular, rural Ireland.