An eight-metre climbing tower, robotics demos, and a mobile library are just some of the attractions promised at the ‘Our Rural Future – Supporting People and Communities’ exhibit.

The sustainable development of outdoor recreation in rural areas will be a key focus for the Department of Rural and Community Development at this year’s National Ploughing Championships, commencing next Tuesday in Ratheniska, Co. Laois.

While the Department is encouraging people to embrace Ireland’s outdoors, it is highlighting the need for it to be done in a safe and respectful manner.

The Department’s exhibit will include Water Safety Ireland demonstrations, advice and support from Rural Recreation Officers and an area focusing on responsible dog ownership.

The Department says the issue of dog attacks on livestock “is of grave concern to the farming community”.

Local authority vets and dog wardens will be at the exhibit discussing the importance of keeping dogs under control, the issues of livestock worrying, the requirement to have a dog licence and general animal welfare.

Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys commented: “Visitors to our exhibit will notice the focus on responsible dog ownership where we will be emphasising the importance of keeping dogs under control in rural areas and dog owners’ responsibilities.

“We will be reminding attendees of the need to respect landowners’ requests and about where dogs are welcome and where they are not. Attacks by dogs on livestock cause huge emotional and economic harm to our farming families.

“It is vital that we promote responsible behaviour so everyone can enjoy the countryside without causing harm to farmers’ livelihoods.”

The Department’s exhibit, ‘Our Rural Future – Supporting People and Communities’ will be located in the Government of Ireland Village (Block 3, Row 22, Stand 348).

It will also include information on rural and community funding, Public Participation Networks, Volunteer Ireland, coding demonstrations, and more.

In addition, there will be stands from:

  • Unfair Trading Practices,
  • Revenue Commissioners,
  • Competition and Consumer Protection Commission,
  • Workplace Relations Commission,
  • Department of Social Protection, and
  • Health Insurance Authority.

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