Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Friday 20 October 2017

Stockmen stepping up fight to get marts reopened

Martin Ryan

Efforts to reopen two livestock marts at Sixmilebridge, Co Clare and Rathkeale, Co Limerick have intensified.

Both were operated by GVM Marts Group but were closed before Christmas, with the operators citing reduced throughput at both sites for the decision.

A bid of €230,000 has been made on behalf of farmers in Co Clare for the premises at Sixmilebridge, which is currently on the open market by private treaty with a guide price of €450,000.

Meanwhile, the redemption of shares in GVM by farmers in the Rathkeale area is being considered as part funding to acquire the west Limerick mart.

At a public meeting in Sixmilebridge, a four-man committee was instructed to enter further negotiations on the outright purchase of the mart premises.

The findings of a feasibility study presented to the meeting indicated that a minimum annual throughput of 9,000hd would be required to cover costs at Sixmilebridge and 12,000hd to operate at a profit.

Figures

The sale of 14,000 cattle would render it a worthwhile business venture, but the mart has not hit sales figures of that order for more than a decade.

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An outside offer of €300,000 had been made to GVM for the site, the meeting was told.

Tom Crosse of GVM Property Sales confirmed that there were a couple of interested parties in the mart but he said the offers on the table were not satisfactory.

Meanwhile, more than 200 people attended a public meeting in Rathkeale last week, which was called to protest at the closure of the mart.

The meeting heard that 740 shareholders in the area originally invested £119,308 in purchasing the mart and that they should not be expected to have to buy the premises for a second time.

Redemption of their shares in GVM society was raised as a possible option in the event of a bid being made for the premises. A review of the share register and viability assessment is to be carried out over the next fortnight.

Farmers at the Rathkeale meeting questioned how borrowings of almost €40m had been built up by GVM and they demanded to know where the money from the mart sale was going.

Irish Independent