Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Saturday 26 May 2018

'Farmers are literally sick with worry'

Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

FARM organisations have called for immediate clarity on how many marts and individual farmers are exposed to losses as a result of TLT International going into receivership.

All the main farm bodies expressed concern at the extent of the potential losses that the sector could face.

ICSA leader Gabriel Gilmartin called on the receiver, Gearóid Costelloe of Grant Thornton, to provide concrete information on TLT's financial position as soon as possible.

"There is reason to be anxious that the (receivership) process will result in losses for some marts and possibly for some individual farmers who do not deal through the marts," Mr Gilmartin said.

He said the manner in which TLT had gone into receivership reflected the "risk-averse" nature of the banking system at present.

CHALLENGES

"The live export trade is vital to the cattle and sheep sectors here, but the sector faces huge challenges given the difficulties in securing appropriate commitment in terms of long-term financing from the banking sector," Mr Gilmartin said.

Insisting that anything that undermined confidence and trust was bad for the cattle trade, Mr Gilmartin called on the Government to exert pressure on the Irish banks to ensure they supported any marts or farmers who had been exposed to potential losses by TLT's troubles.

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The IFA and ICOS were meeting with Mr Costelloe as the Farming Independent went to press yesterday.

IFA president John Bryan said that, as well as getting an update on the extent of the difficulties with TLT International, the IFA delegation was making it clear that outstanding payments to farmers and marts for livestock had to be prioritised.

FRANTIC

Meanwhile, ICMSA beef and cattle chairman Michael Guinan said his organisation was receiving frantic phone calls from farmers all over Ireland who had recently sold animals to TLT or its agents and were now literally sick with worry about their prospects of being paid.

"Some of the sums owed to individual farmers are very substantial indeed," Mr Guinan said.

"ICMSA will be looking for a meeting with Mr Costello here in Limerick immediately and our priority will be the monies owed to individual farmers," he said.

"Farmers must always insist on being paid by bank draft or, if they accept a cheque, our advice is to never let the animals out of your yard until the cheque has cleared," he added.

"The broader issue is the need for our live export business to be strengthened and made viable and that is in all our interest.

"This issue will have to be addressed in due course."

Irish Independent