Mart managers stress need for customers to be allowed ringside

A large number of mart online systems crashed yesterday (Saturday, October 24), with four marts sending all livestock home and others resuming sales later in the day, according to mart representative group Mart Managers of Ireland (MMI).

In a statement today, MMI chair Eimear Mc Guinness confirmed that she had a long discussion with Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue today about yesterday’s events.

“We both agree that this situation was very stressful for the marts and mart managers, sellers and purchasers. It is deeply regretful that this should happen at this busy time of year.

The minister says he is monitoring the situation in all marts. I have stressed the need for customers to be allowed back at the ringside.

“We talked about all the different reasons why and I ran through with him the difficulties I have encountered in the past week,” Mc Guinness said.

“I also stated that all online trading platforms are relatively new to marts and need time to develop. With so many sales yesterday and the increased volume of people logging in, most likely caused the crash.

“While the online sales platform is a great tool for marts, we still need customers ringside. Farming is an essential service and marts are very essential to farmers at this time of year.

Monday bank holiday will be another very busy selling day. We can’t afford to allow the same thing to happen again.

“While reports from some marts have been good with regard to trade, some have reported a drop in sale prices.

“I myself believe the true reflection in trade is hard to monitor this week as purchasers have extra money in their pockets due to payments being out this week.

I have pleaded with him to argue our case that our mart sales rings are very well laid out and to cope with a small number of purchasers and the efforts marts have gone to make them very safe. I have invited him to attend one of our marts to see the layout.

“He has promised that all will be taken into account and will update us as soon as possible of discussions which will be had over the coming hours and days. I did ask him to be mindful of the busy bank holiday which lies ahead tomorrow.

“We also spoke of the losses that marts, sellers and purchasers would have encountered due to the fiasco yesterday and also the stress on the animals involved. This cannot happen again,” Mc Guinness concluded.