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Joe Clune (left) who takes over as manager of Sixmilebridge Mart following the retirement of Seán Ryan.

New manager for Sixmilebridge mart

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RECORD livestock prices are set to continue at Sixmilebridge Mart, due to the increase in ringside buyers and online activity, according to the new manager of the facility.
Quin native Joe Clune has taken the reins from New Inn’s Seán Ryan, who retired this week after a decade managing the mart. “One of the biggest aims now is driving the mart forward both online and around the ring and providing a good service for the local community,” said Mr Clune. “We had an exceptionally big sale last Saturday and cattle prices are very strong. People have great confidence and with online options, we’re getting buyers logging on from as far away as Northern Ireland, so it’s now time for local farmers to avail of this opportunity to get top prices for their cattle.”
Ringside access has been allowed at marts across the country since May and the Saturday sales in Sixmilebridge have been very busy. “Numbers are limited at the minute,” Mr Clune said. “We have public health guidelines in place for both buyers and sellers, with two-metre distancing at the ringside.”
Twenty-nine year-old Mr Clune, who previously worked in procurement in the meat processing sector, acknowledged the big challenge in moving livestock sales online during lockdown, but said that online sales continue to offer advantages. “Every sector was challenged during Covid,” he said. “It was probably harder for the farming community than most to make the move online, but people have been very happy with the online sales process.”
Mr Clune has been employed at the mart for the last month learning the ropes from his predecessor. “Seán has given me great advice and I’m very grateful for that and for everything he has done for the mart for the last ten years,” he said.
Mr Ryan was appointed in 2011 and previously managed Athenry Mart. He was the first manager to run Sixmilebridge Mart when it was re-opened by a community co-operative a decade ago. The facility had been closed for over two years, after the owners declared it unviable. The success of the mart over the last decade is proof of the difference that community support can make.
“There has been a great board of management and staff working hard together for the last ten years,” Mr Clune said. “Both office staff and yard staff have been the driving force to make it such a success. Huge credit is due too to the shareholders, who raised the money to buy and re-open the mart. It’s a farmer-owned mart and it’s a great facility for the community and the people you meet here are absolutely brilliant.”
To mark the tenth anniversary of the opening of the mart, a special sale is scheduled for August 28. More details will be revealed closer to the date of the event.

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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