Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Sligo-Leitrim Shane Ellis has called for the establishment of a grant for safety improvements to mart infrastructure in the Republic of Ireland.
He made the call following reports from a number of smaller marts that their viability is in doubt as they cannot finance some of the safety measures needed to secure insurance.
“The importance of safety measures cannot be overestimated, but the reality for many smaller marts is that they simply don’t have the funds to carry out essential works.
“They are being hit with bills from every angle – with spiralling insurance costs exacerbating the situation,” said Ellis.
“For some towns and villages, the mart is the economic and social hub. It’s where farmers meet each other to chat, and it’s where business is done. However, in recent years marts have seen their overheads increase, particularly with regard to insurance. Any supports which can be approved for health and safety measures would provide a welcome relief.
“Back in 2008, a grant scheme was introduced by the Department of Agriculture for livestock marts to improve efficiency and enhance quality and food safety.
“The precedent exists and so I am calling on the Minister for Agriculture to consider a similar scheme which could be used to improve health and safety issues in marts.
“Minister Creed needs to do more to secure the future of our marts. These provide important and transparent sales platforms for farmers and much needed employment in rural communities,” he added.