Cashel Mart charity auction raises nearly €20,000 for Alzheimer Society 

Aileen Hahesy

Reporter:

Aileen Hahesy

Amy Coffey holding Ray D'Arcy the Hereford bullock; Alison De Vere Hunt, Catherine Bartels and John O'Brien at Cashel Mart for the fundraising auction.

Broadcaster Ray D'Arcy met his namesake on his RTE chat show on Saturday night - a Hereford bullock sold at a charity auction at Cashel Mart to raise funds for the Alzheimer Society of Ireland. 

Ray the bullock went under the hammer for €1850 and was sold to Rosegreen farmer Michael Fanning before a large crowd of buyers and spectators on Saturday afternoon. 

He was one of an estimated 18 calves and cattle sold at the fundraising auction that raised close to €20,000 for the Alzheimer Society. 

All the animals were donated by farmers from counties Tipperary and Waterford for the sale as were a variety of agricultural fodder and equipment ranging from bales of silage and hay to gates and farm clothing. There were a total of 60 lots for the auction. 

Ray was donated by the chief organiser John O'Brien from Mount Mellary. The bullock was named after Ray D'Arcy as his radio show was playing in the background during his birth. 

John, Cashel Mart Manager Alison Hunt and volunteer Joan Dillane accompanied Ray on his star appearance on television. They transported the bullock to the RTE studios in Dublin straight after the auction and John delivered him to his new owner the next day. 

"Ray (the bullock) behaved himself very well on the show as I knew he would. He has been a gentle giant and kind animal since the day he was born," declared John. 

Alison Hunt was very impressed with the price the bullock sold for at the auction. She told Ray D'Arcy an animal of his weight would usually make between €620 and €650. 

John O'Brien organised the charity auction in conjunction with the 38-strong Grass Girls team, who broke a world record last August as the first all-female sillage harvesting crew. Six of the Grass Girls, including Alison Hunt, hail from Co. Tipperary. 

The world record silage harvest took place at the Mount Mellary Community Silage Weekend and raised €14,000 for the Alzheimer Society, a cause close to John's heart as his father died from the degenerative disease a year and a half ago. 

John told The Nationalist he was delighted with the huge support the Cashel Mart auction received both from farmers and businesses, who donated livestock and goods for the sale, and from the large crowd that came to see the event. 

"There were people at the auction that hadn't been in a mart in years and years. I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart everyone who took part and who volunteered and supported the auction from both counties." 

He pointed out that all funds raised by the auction will go directly to facilities and services for Alzheimer's disease patients in South Tipperary and Co. Waterford. The auction proceeds will be handed over to the Alzheimer Society next week.