Ringing changes has kept Mayo-Sligo Mart at heart of western life for more than half a century
In Focus: Mayo-Sligo Mart
With 40,000 sheep and 25,000 cattle moving through the sales rings at Mayo-Sligo Mart in Ballina, Co Mayo, every year it takes a dedicated team of staff to keep the show on the road.
Heading up that team are manager James Cleary and assistant manager Marion Byron, along with three regular auctioneers, Peter Foley, Adrian Tansey and Tommy McGovern.
The mart employs up to 30 people on a big sale day, between office, yard and sales-ring staff.
However, hundreds of locals have been employed by the mart since it first opened its gates in 1959, including former EU agriculture commissioner Ray McSharry.
McSharry, a native of Sligo, worked at the mart before he moved into the world of politics, going on to become Tánaiste, Minister for Finance and European Commissioner.
The mart opened on March 24, 1959 and among the early managers was Jack Lacken who helped steer the business for 18 years until he retired in 1977. He was succeeded by Mark Breslin, who stayed in this role until he retired in 2000 after 22 years of service.
In 1972, the mart committee decided to purchase the site of the current mart, known as 'Dunleavy's field' for the sum of £149,766.