Farm Ireland

Monday 26 February 2018

'Huge potential for live exports': Mart managers views on Brexit

Carrigallen Mart. Photo Brian Farrell
Carrigallen Mart. Photo Brian Farrell
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

David White of Castleisland Mart cuts straight to the heart of Brexit and the cattle business.

“Before you can get into Brexit you have to realise the cattle business is all about the price, and we need to fight to get the price right here first,” he says.

“That, for farmers, is the biggest issue. With all these amalgamations and takeovers with Slaney and Dunbia, we have fewer players and farmers have less choice.”

How do his customers think the negotiations will go?

“Farmers are not going to be at the negotiation table, that’s the job of the civil servants and politicians; the IFA’s job is to keep the pressure on them. Farmers are more minded to question Bord Bia on their performance than calculate Brexit.”

Jim Bush of New Ross Mart sees no honeymoon period for newly-elected Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar.

“Brexit will be the first major task for Leo Varadkar and his government,” he says, with farmers expecting a “strong performance”.

He is also concerned that the uncertainty generated by the recent general election result in the UK should not be underestimated, especially where the value of sterling is concerned. “Britain, without the ‘Great’?” he quips.

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John O’Hanlon of Ballymahon Mart, which is also a Department-registered TB export test centre, sees huge potential for live exports especially for the good store bullock more so than the heavy factory type.

“Small cattle grow into big cattle,” he says.

“Once Britain goes through with Brexit, EU rules on stock and transport will not apply north of the Border.

"The only rule that will matter will be the 30-day residency rule here in the South. In theory there should be no other impediment to cattle going freely North”.

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