'Farmers are in no-man's land'
Threatened tariffs and import quotas cast a dismal spell on the Raphoe Mart in Donegal, with farmers grappling with what the latest twists in Brexit mean for them and their livelihoods.
As rain clouds darkened the skies overhead, farmers moods were low as they discussed the UK's plans to put tariffs on beef of 53pc.
Mart manager Ann Harkin said while developments were not affecting trade, they were certainly causing uncertainty and leading to a downbeat atmosphere.
"People are in no-man's land - they don't know what's going to happen. If there was a concrete decision on Brexit, it would be easier. There's a lot of doom and gloom at the moment," she said.
She added that there hadn't been any major drop in the prices farmers were getting for animals. However, she said if uncertainty continued she'd be afraid that people would start panic-selling.
"There's nothing wrong with the prices being paid for good-spec cattle. A 600kg top-class bull is still making €580-970 over their weight," she said.
Frank McClean, who has 65 suckler cows on his farm at Rossbracken outside Letterkenny, said that if Britain leaves the EU without a deal the deal and tariffs came in, the market for Irish produce would be "finished".
"More than half of Irish beef is going to the UK. If Britain crashes out and there's a 53pc tariff on top of beef, it will treble the price of beef. Our beef exports are worth €430m - that situation would absolutely devastate our industry," he said.