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Mart managers in plea for survival amid soaring insurance costs

Some smaller marts have been hit with 255pc premium increases

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Concern: FBD currently insures 80pc of marts in Ireland and admits they are a loss-making sector for them

Concern: FBD currently insures 80pc of marts in Ireland and admits they are a loss-making sector for them

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Concern: FBD currently insures 80pc of marts in Ireland and admits they are a loss-making sector for them

More marts are facing closure due to increasing insurance costs and falling suckler numbers.

A coalition of 30 mart managers have come together to highlight their fears for the mart network ahead of the General Election.

The past 18 months has seen the closure of Mountrath, Carrick-on-Suir and Castleblaney marts.

Eimear McGuinness, chairperson of the Mart Managers of Ireland, told the Farming Independent that many marts have seen a huge increase in costs including insurance and rates.

"There has been a dramatic rise in annual insurance premiums for livestock marts nationally," she said, with some marts seeing increases of up to 255pc between 2015 and 2018.

Insurance premium increases are occurring irrespective of the size of the mart or the history of public liability claims, she said.

"For example, in one small mart, the insurance premium has increased from €7,000 in 2015 to €15,000 in 2018; however, there have been no public liability claims in this particular mart in this period."

Earlier this year PJ Buckley of Golden Vale Marts (GVM) said higher insurance costs, in addition to the costs associated with improved health and safety standards, were a threat to the viability of many smaller marts.

Suckler numbers

FBD currently insures 80pc of marts in Ireland and admits they are a loss-making sector for them, but said there has been a decrease in premiums for marts that have demonstrated improved risk management standards.

And the decline in suckler cow numbers is also hitting the marts, said McGuinness. "Over the past four years the number of suckler cows has decreased by 83,936. With numbers decreasing and costs increasing, marts are struggling."

Indo Farming