Unfortunately, under axis 3 of the rural development programme, we cannot fund anything that is associated with agricultural production. However, under measure 3.1 of the rural development programme, farm diversification, farm families who wish to diversify into tourism can avail themselves of funding to develop non-production-related infrastructure such as, for example, self-catering units or activity-based tourism, and, in doing so, provide activities and accommodation that could complement a wider tourism project.
As I said previously in the House, the work that is ongoing through the rural development programme is delivering the tourism infrastructure that will help rural communities to provide a better tourism offering in the future. Agritourism and social farming are innovative ways of increasing the farm family income. My officials are examining whether those farming innovations could be supported by my Department and how it can do so.
We work with all agencies. I have attended a number of North/South Ministerial Council meetings at which Tourism Ireland has highlighted how rural agritourism and the better use of forests and our rural communities have the potential to attract visitors to this island. We will work with all and any organisations, not just the tourist bodies, but local government with private partners, to determine how we can better develop agritourism. I welcome the fact that the Member left his farewell lunch to be here. He can go back to it now. [Laughter.]