The Irish Shows Association (ISA) has advised members to cancel 2021 shows.

The association has said it will not be printing a yearbook this year, but any shows that are able to run will be published on the ISA website once they are confirmed.

In a statement posted online, the ISA said it had “held off for as long as possible” in making the statement, hoping for government clarification.

“That clarification and advice has not been forthcoming due to the ever-changing nature of the situation. We are looking forward to receiving some clear guidance,” the statement read.

After consultation with our members, the board of the ISA has no choice at this time but to advise our member shows not to run in 2021, until such time as the appropriate authorities deem that it is safe to do so.

Does this mean all shows are cancelled?

The ISA is the representative body for agricultural shows both north and south of the border.

The association’s primary function is to support member shows and to advocate on their behalf.

The ASA does not have the power to cancel shows; therefore, the decision as to whether shows proceed or not will be up to their respective organisers.

The ISA statement explained the rationale behind the advice: “In the Republic of Ireland, we are currently under ‘level 5’ restrictions.

Even at level 1 in the current framework, the maximum number of people for an outdoor gathering would be 200-500. This would not be viable for most of our member shows.

“The regulations are different in Northern Ireland, but the dates for reopening are still somewhat unclear. We will continue to liaise with the relevant authorities on both sides of the border and advise our member shows accordingly.

“Like so many other event organisers and community groups, we find ourselves in limbo waiting for a clear roadmap to emerge.

As show organisers need a reasonable amount of time to plan and organise their events, we are stepping in to provide advice based on the information that is available at the moment. This advice may be updated as regulations change.

The association said it was going to be a “long and winding road” to get events back on the calendar.

“But that is certainly our aim, and we will work tirelessly to that end,” it added.

“If the guidelines allow, we would love to see our members running something within their communities to keep the name of their show alive and to thank their loyal sponsors and volunteers.

“We would encourage everyone to support the local businesses who have supported our member shows over the years,” the ISA statement concluded.