Naughten asks minister to meet mart reps to put ‘robust’ system in place

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue has been asked to meet with representatives of marts and put a “robust” system in place to help marts deal with Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions.

Independent TD Denis Naughten told AgriLand that he had spoken to Minister McConalogue earlier today (Saturday, October 24) by phone, after news broke that mart sales had been called off and cattle were sent home when an online bidding system crashed.

“I’ve requested that the minister bring in ICOS [the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society] and mart representatives as soon as possible to put a sustainable, robust sales system in place,” the Roscommon-Galway TD said.

This, Naughten added, would include “allowing buyers around the ring in a proper socially distanced manner”.

A number of marts around the country were forced to call off their sales after an online auction system went down earlier today.

Server issues

Online mart sales system Livestock Live (LSL) experienced server issues, a company employee confirmed earlier, stating that the system was down for “about an hour”. This has since been rectified, with the online system operational once more, the LSL employee added.

Ballinasloe Mart called off the sale it had scheduled today, sending home 500 cattle, while Carndonagh Mart cancelled its auction, unable to sell the gathered 1,500 sheep brought there today.

Milford Mart in Co. Donegal also had to close up shop, as did a number of others.

Commenting, Donegal Livestock Mart manager and chairperson of Mart Managers of Ireland (MMI) Eimear McGuinness said: “What I want to say as a mart manager is that this has been the worst two weeks of our lives.”