Farmers shocked at closure of ‘one of the best’ sheep marts in Ireland

It is never a nice job to report a closure of any business, let alone a local mart. Unfortunately, this was the case on Monday (January 18) as Station Road Mart, based in Co. Cavan, announced it would cease trading at its current premises in Cootehill.

There was a strong reaction of shock and disbelief by local farmers to this announcement, as it had been a thriving business for auctioning both cattle and sheep in the local area.

The mart had been under the management of Jimmy and Carmel O’Reilly for seven years, as it reopened its gates back in 2013 after years of being vacant.

Also Read: Cootehill mart in Cavan ceases operations

Farmers’ reactions

Today (Tuesday, January 29) AgriLand spoke with some of the local farmers who would have been attending the mart on a weekly basis to get their opinion on the current situation.

Local beef and dairy farmer Aileen McGahan explained:

“A lot of people, including myself, were shocked to hear it because at their last sale before Christmas there was no talk of it closing.

We only live 4km away from the mart and my father has driven a world of cattle to sales over the years. It will be a massive loss to the people of Cootehill town with the jobs it had created.

“It was always a good trade; I seen weeks where there could have been up to 700 head of cattle in it – especially back in the autumn when the weanling sales were strong. It’s a massive disappointment to lose the mart.”

Another farmer who regularly bought and sold animals at the mart told AgriLand:

“It’s a mart that is going to be outrageously missed by the farming community of Cootehill.

“You have a strong weanling sale in it on a Friday night and a fantastic sheep sale in it on a Tuesday and those are going to be very hard to replace.

It had a name of being one of the best sheep marts in the country; it had a serious catchment area of sheep.

Even from a social aspect, it will be an awful blow for farmers. Before Covid-19 restrictions were in place, when Cootehill Mart was up and going, it was the spot for farmers to be at.”

generational renewal

Speaking to Edmund Graham of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), who is also a local farmer and was a regular attendee of the mart, he stated:

It’s an awful pity to see the mart close, we are at a loss of a sheep sale now around the Monaghan area.

“A lot of the farmers from Monaghan, including myself, would have sold and bought their lambs and sheep through Cootehill Mart.

“It was a mart that had a strong show of cattle, they would have been reaching up to 300 head of weanlings towards the back end of the year from local farmers. It’s going to be a big loss to the local community.”