As the switch to mandatory Electronic Identification (EID) tagging looms ahead of the June 1 transition date, some marts have expressed concerns about the pending change.

In Co. Westmeath, manager at Delvin Mart John Gilligan outlined that the sheep sale in the mart will be operating as normal tomorrow, Thursday, May 30.

However, he explained that a staff meeting will be held tomorrow evening to determine what the mart should do after that. He noted that some marts are “sort of in limbo at the minute”.

Gilligan said that the sheep sale will need “at least one extra staff member if not two noting that EID tagging implementation will increase the mart’s workload.

There’s no real cohesion on the issue between the marts and some have not even been contacted yet and are just letting it drift on.

Concluding, Gilligan explained that the mart “could operate manually but it would entail physically reading each sheep’s tag until the equipment is up and running and that would certainly not be too easy”.

Kenmare Mart

Dan McCarthy, manager, Kenmare Mart, was extremely concerned about the changes. “We don’t know where to start with it all,” he exclaimed.

McCarthy said that the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine officials have not been doing enough to help mart management with the implementation of the new technology.

He believes the department staff should be helping mart staff to implement the technology.

“The department are making no attempt in the world to come out and help us set it up.

If they expect to get 3,000 sheep read in one or two hours; I don’t know how it is going to be done.

“We will have to have someone to read the sheep and put the numbers into the computer and print them and to be honest I am completely green to the whole thing; I don’t know where it’s going to finish,” he concluded.

Currently, there is an 80% grant available for marts to install the technology up to a cost of €15,000.