Mart-goers urged to support new safety measures

Mart-goers have been urged to embrace and support the safety measures being implemented on an ongoing basis in marts across Ireland by the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS).

In a statement, ICOS also noted the serious accident at Mohill Mart, Co. Leitrim, in which a man was injured by a bull.

ICOS strongly commended the “exemplary response” by Aurivo Co-operative which immediately closed its marts at Mohill, Balla, Ballinrobe and Ballymote for a safety review following the incident.

“Everyone was very upset to hear of this distressing accident. It’s always important to figure out how something like this could have happened and also to take any measures necessary to avoid a recurrence,” the written statement from the co-operative body read.

Aurivo and other marts which closed their operations for a review were acting correctly, responsibly and in the best interests of everyone involved in livestock farming.

“Over the past number of months, marts have been implementing extra measures to further reduce health and safety risks. All ICOS mart drovers already receive professional training in livestock management including health and safety,” the organisation has assured.

A mutual concern

“We are also providing additional training for our staff along with safety information, new signage and announcements re-advising patrons that safety comes first. It is a mutual concern that everyone must work together collectively to address.”

According to ICOS, addressing this issue will have to involve keeping mart visitors and livestock apart from each other while preserving the enjoyable quality of the mart day experience.

It was noted that this could mean: restricted access to livestock delivery points; closing off passageways; and the establishment of gantries and bridges to allow for safe viewing of livestock, depending on the size of the mart involved.

“At the end of the day, it’s a matter of establishing an appropriate balance. Everyone appreciates the necessity to avoid accidents,” the statement said.

‘Spiralling insurance’

“We also cannot afford the level of insurance premiums which we currently see spiralling in cost as insurers seek to minimise their risk and cover their exposure to liability. We need to reduce the risk and reduce the cost.

We will be seeking a collective and co-ordinated response across the marts sector to ensure that no single mart will be disadvantaged as a result of any measures which need to be adopted.

“This will require a level of Government support and incentivisation – and measures to control the rising cost of insurance,” ICOS says.

“The cost of insurance for marts has more than doubled in the past 18 months but there hasn’t been a particular jump in incidents or claims arising from marts and, realistically, we don’t see a legitimate basis for the scale of insurance costs currently being projected into the marts sector.”