Cattle in the ring at Donegal Mart. (File image).
The huge insurance hikes facing mart operators in Donegal have been branded “totally unsustainable” by the chairperson of the Donegal Marts' Association.
Eimear McGuinness, who is the chairperson of the county-wide group, is also manager of Donegal town mart.
She told the Donegal Democrat that many mart operators in the county have seen insurance costs double in the last year. She is calling for more to be done to tackle the issues that are driving these increases.
She said she had been lobbying for the matter to be raised in the Dáil, and her efforts proved successful as Donegal Deputy, Pearse Doherty, brought the issue into play on the floor of the House this week.
She explained: “I had to go Deputy Doherty to raise the issue because we had no other avenue. Insurance has doubled. There are a number of factors to it. It is not just the doubling of the price of the insurance, it is that they are also paying out these claims that they should not be. They should be fought and not paid out in some cases.”
She said she was aware other marts in Donegal are also affected by the huge increase of insurance.
“It makes it very challenging when you take into account rates and everything else. Everything is so costly and tight at the minute. We talk about the suckler cow numbers reducing and all of that as well. It is just making things very tight,” she stated.
She said it was her understanding that some marts faced insurance bills of €16,000 and more - more than twice last year's insurance costs. She said those in the sector locally would like to see a resolution with insurance companies so they can have a “level playing field”.