Anyone that happens to drop by Aurivo Balla Mart in the west of Ireland on a Saturday, will undoubtedly be familiar with the name Brendan Corrigan.
No stranger to manning the mart podium conducting the livestock sale at Balla every Saturday afternoon, the Ballinamuck Co. Longford-native has built-up quite a reputation down through the years.
Having attended to his suckler herd, Mr. Corrigan makes the 140km journey to the West every Saturday morning for the past twenty-seven years, making him an admirable force to be reckoned with.
Getting to grips
Brendan first found his feet in the livestock mart scene forty-three years ago. He was initially appointed as a clerk from the days the doors of Mohill Mart first opened in 1974 and his career snowballed from here.
‘I then went on to clerk at marts including Cotehill, Co. Cavan and Granard, Co. Longford. Six years later I started auctioneering in Cavan, selling suck calves. A further five years later, I went to Ballymote , Co. Sligo auctioneering on Wednesdays and Thursdays.’ Brendan told Catherina of That’s Farming.
Not stopping in his tracks there, the opportunity arose for Brendan to uptake a position with various different marts.
“I covered Gort, Westport, Swinford, Ballymote, Balla and Ballyhaunis, six days a week auctioneering. It was a rather busy schedule to follow.” He added.
In 2001, Brendan obtained a position with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine as a livestock valuer, travelling the width and breadth of ten counties across the island, following the rampant outbreaks of Food and Mouth , TB and BSE.
In the years that followed, Mr. Corrigan continued officiating as a livestock auctioneer and managed to simultaneously broaden his horizons.
Outside of his Livestock Auctioneering circles, Brendan joined forces with a colleague five years later and turned his attention to the sale of property. The company Re/max operated in a Longford-based office for several years and later formed a partnership with a company based in Athlone and Birr.
Brendan, a qualified award-winning auctioneer is now an Estate Agent for Central Auctions with a professional portfolio of land and residential properties, with the main office based in Birr, Co. Offaly. A bonded member of both the I.P.A.V. and M.C.E.I, Mr. Corrigan’s professional dedication to his career is demonstrated throughout his experience, now counting close to four decades.
Mr. Corrigan recognises that livestock marts are the social fabric of rural Ireland, the heart and soul of those involved in farming and on the cattle dealing scene.
From the traditional fair days to armchair bidding platforms, livestock marts have undergone a major transformation in the 21st century and this particular Longford man has lived right through the era of changes.
“There has been a closure of smaller trading marts, resulting in the development and expansion of larger marts, with increased catchments areas. Agents are now appointed to purchase stock, with very few farmers at ringsides themselves. It is difficult to know what the future has in store for the sector.” Brendan explained.
‘There are very few young people on the farming scene in my neck of the woods, never mind stepping near a mart. They are nearly daunted by the operation of marts when they step inside the doors.’ He added.
“Licencing and qualifications are among the areas that have undergone change in recent years. Licence renewal and insurance make the profession challenging.”
“They aren’t many young people on the uptake at the moment and a lot of auctioneers have to stay on until their seventies as a result.”
“It is a competitive sector and you have to work to make your mark,” Brendan concluded.
The leading Longford man, a jack-of-all-trades, wearing many hats doesn’t plan on leaving the white coat and microphone to one side anytime soon and will continue to fill the shoes as a livestock auctioneer, estate agent, farmer and DAFM valuer for the foreseeable future.