Fuming stockmen fight on over Rathkeale closure
Angry west Limerick farmers have called for the chairman and chief executive of the Golden Vale Marts (GVM) group to attend a 'Save Rathkeale Mart' protest meeting in the town tomorrow night.
Four members of the GVM board, who are from the Rathkeale area, have resigned from the governing body in protest over the mart's closure.
The organisers will demand detailed explanations from David Naughton, group chairman, and P J Buckley, GVM chief executive, on the decision to cease operations at the mart last December.
The organisers will call for the mart's re-opening at the meeting which takes place at Rathkeale House Hotel at 8.30pm.
Mr Buckley has insisted that the decision to close the mart was taken by the board following a detailed examination of its operations, and he has dismissed suggestions that the move will be reversed.
He said that the throughput of cattle at the mart had fallen off in recent years and the mart had been operating at a loss for some time.
Mr Buckley claimed that GVM could not continue to support the loss-making venue and it was decided to close the mart and dispose of the premises on the open market.
"There was a throughput of 25,000 head at Rathkeale, but that fell to 6,500hd/year. We are in changing times and the running costs were too high for that level of throughput," he said.