TD Queries Festival Grant

The Department of Rural Affairs has defended giving a €200,000 grant to a festival that has been described as an ‘elitist’ foodie gathering for the well-connected. The Great Gathering, which takes place in Wicklow in June, bills itself as a ‘fusion of delicious foods and gripping conversations'. Headline acts include chefs Rachel Allen and Yotam Ottolenghi and writer Jon Ronson. Tickets for the weekend are priced from €130 per adult.

In a parliamentary response to Independent TD Carol Nolan, Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys said it had been awarded the money under a rural LEADER initiative.

‘The LEADER Food Initiative is a measure under the LEADER programme which aims to support the further development of food and beverage businesses throughout rural Ireland,' said Ms Humphreys.

However, Ms Nolan told the Irish Examiner that she asked the question because the festival’s marketing indicated that part of its funding was coming from Project Ireland 2040.