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‘Older farmers are becoming more isolated by online sales’

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Auctioneer George Candler (left) with Kilkenny Agricultural Society’s John C Murphy and John Delahanty

Auctioneer George Candler (left) with Kilkenny Agricultural Society’s John C Murphy and John Delahanty

Auctioneer George Candler (left) with Kilkenny Agricultural Society’s John C Murphy and John Delahanty

Further isolation for older farmers has been caused by the restriction of livestock sales to online, according to veteran auctioneer George Candler.

A year on from the start of the restrictions, he believes there will be fewer buyers but online is “definitely” here to stay.

“We are losing a cohort of the older farmers who are not into the modern-day technology,” he says. “This was sprung on them.

“If they have no younger person who can show them how it operates, they are totally lost.

They are afraid to get involved in case they press a wrong button. They don’t have any confidence in the new system.

“They have been totally forgotten about.


“There is a danger that we adopt the policy of moving on and forgetting about the minority.

“And it is the end of another social outlet for these older farmers, who no longer go to the pub because of the ban on drink driving.

“They are now becoming more isolated, which is a very dangerous scenario.

“Where there are large rings we should be able to get 50-60 farmers back into the ring in safety without being close to each other, and that would give the older farmers a chance to get back into the sales.

“Since there was no other way of selling cattle we have had to adjust, but there are still problems like communication with the system or phones freezing.

We have people saying that they were not able to get in for a bid.

“Technology has to improve and we have to look at the infrastructure at the marts to make sure that the broadband is strong enough.

“It has definitely not affected the prices. I have never seen the trade as buoyant, in every sector. Hoggets are making up to €180 and the forward stores of 500kg were selling for €2.50 to €2.80/kg and up to €3/kg for some really choice lots on Thursday phenomenal prices.

“We have three system operatives providing the service for online sales… marts should be assisted by the Government if they have to install stronger systems. It was not their choice that they have had to adopt to online selling at short notice.”

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