Minister commends rural community spirit at mart fundraiser

The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, was special guest at the recent ‘Rearing for Rickie’ fundraiser at Kanturk Co-operative Mart, Co. Cork, auctioning two cattle.

The event was hosted to raise funds to defray the ongoing medical expenses of Rickie Healy who is from a dairy farm background in Mallow. He sustained serious spinal injuries in a swimming accident in Spain in July 2017.

Minister Creed auctioned two pedigree Limousin heifers, sponsored by Rickie’s uncles and reared on the family farm by Rickie’s dad. They made €1,500 and €1,750 respectively.

A total of 68 cattle were up for auction, with calves, weanlings and older animals in the fray.

“The mart was packed to the rafters with cattle dealers, buyers, agri companies and people from far and wide,” said Caroline O’Connell who spearheaded the fundraising initiative.

“The buyers really showed their support which reflected in the prices of cattle on the night. The generosity of the buyers of the cattle, auction items and raffle tickets and donors brought in over €70,000 for the appeal,” she said.

During the interval, world-renowned musician, Liam O Connor, who toured with Michael Flatley in ‘Lord of the Dance’, entertained the large gathering for almost an hour, injecting an electric atmosphere into the occasion.

“After the entertainment there was a range of other auction lots where we saw: a pair of Ed Sheeran tickets sell for €470; a morning on the gallops with Henry de Bromhead went for €500; an art work from Coolmore commanded €560; and the sale topper was a signed Irish jersey by the Grand Slam winning team which sold for €2,120 to Tim Sheehan of Farmco Agritrading,” Caroline said.

“All companies that sponsored ‘Rearing For Rickie’ had a stand at the event and were there to watch their animals being sold.

“The support from these companies was the backbone of this fundraising project,” she said.

“After Rickie’s accident last year, I started this fundraising project with the help of my dad, Tim – auctioneer in Kanturk mart – and we are overwhelmed by how much our expectations were surpassed,” Caroline said.

The support we received from the agricultural industry has been phenomenal. Without the backing of the sponsor companies and the farmers, this would not have been possible. We would like to thank everybody who helped us ‘raise for Rickie’.

“As stated by Minister Creed, it is heartening to see that the rural community spirit is alive and well,” she said.

“However, the funds raised from the auction are just a drop in the ocean of the money that will be needed for Rickie’s long-term recovery and care,” said Caroline who is appealing for further donations. She can be contacted on: 086-1916117.