Tighter rules mean 'selling a heifer is treated the same as selling a house'
New regulations affecting the mart sector could significantly reduce the level of credit available to farmers and dealers in the future.
An ICOS delegation met Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney last week to highlight possible problems caused by the new regulatory body, the Property Services Regulation Authority.
Tighter regulation of the banking and property sectors has led to increased regulation in the mart sector, even though the mart trade was not a primary target for the new laws.
The main aim of the new authority is to ensure continuing best practice and to generally protect the consumer rights of buyers and sellers using the services of auctioneers, according to ICOS marts executive Ray Doyle.
"This is against the backdrop of enhanced regulation for the wider financial services industry," he explained. "Livestock marts have traded successfully since their establishment almost 60 years ago, providing a service where livestock are traded on an open market and where sellers have always been guaranteed payment.
"That guarantee of payment has never been reneged on or broken during that time."
When livestock marts started in Ireland, their auctioneers' licence was regulated under the 1947 House Agents Acts. They required the mart to renew its livestock auctioneering licence with the District Court every year and to deposit a bond of €12,000, together with an accountant's report, in order to comply with regulations as set down by the Department of Justice.
As animal welfare, health and hygiene became a national issue in the 1960s, marts were also, and continue to be, regulated by the Department of Agriculture under the 1967 Livestock Marts Act.