While the farmers who met at Carnaross Mart this week see James Mallon as an able operator to take over the business, they called on its future owner to keep the open sales going.

With Mallon’s existing Viastar business focused on live exports, there were concerns that the premises could instead be turned into a private shipping yard. “I’d like to see the mart kept open,” David Lynch, a local drystock farmer and haulier, said. “A lot of people are making a good living off the mart: farmers, auctioneers, hauliers, five or six people to keep each of the three rings going all day.”

He and his wife Breda agreed the Mallon family could be trusted to run the mart efficiently. “They are doing well with the factories,” she said.

John Byrne, who farms in Oldcastle, Co Meath, was of the same view. “Most of my cattle go to Liffey Meats,” he said in reference to the factory operated by Mallon’s father in neighbouring Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan.

“You bring your cattle and get your money the next day. I’d be happy to have James Mallon run the mart.”

He, too, wants to see the twice-weekly sales continue. “The more outlets for cattle you have, the better: we need the marts, the factories and the live exports.”

Carnaross beef farmer Pat Smith was less positive.

“Don’t they have enough with the factories?” he asked, raising concerns about local employment at the mart. “This is just another way of controlling prices,” he added.