The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue welcomed buyers back to mart rings today.
Minister McConalogue was speaking to farmers and staff at Carndonagh Mart in Co Donegal, where he advised everyone to adhere to public health guidelines, and paid tribute to them for their “efforts” in keeping mart sales going through online mechanisms during lockdown.
“This is a great day for our network of marts across the country,” the Minister said.
“Mart managers, their staff, buyers, and sellers of livestock have shown tremendous resilience, agility and resourcefulness over the past 12 months in dealing with the challenges of Covid-19 while continuing to trade so seamlessly.
“I’m convinced that the efforts of adhering to the Covid-19 measures by farmers and mart staff, has undoubtedly played a role in minimising and reducing the threat of the virus in our communities.”
Meanwhile, cattle throughput from January 1 to March 14, 2021 was at 94% of the comparable period in 2020 while sheep throughput - when compared with this time last year - stood at 100%.
“Buyers may attend the sales ring and view stock in pens, however, this must be done by prior appointment with the livestock mart,” Minister McConalogue added.
“Buyers who wish to be present at ringside must wear face coverings and adhere to strict 2m social distancing.
“Marts must also prevent the congregation of members of the public in the mart car park or at entry ways into mart buildings and operate according to Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) which have been approved by their Regional Veterinary Office (RVO).”
The Minister also highlighted that sales will continue to be a blend of both online and ringside as the country emerges from lockdown.
“This blended approach, with a strong online element, has proved to be an excellent way of trading cattle and sheep,” said the Minister.
“I am urging farmers, buyers and marts to pay particular attention to the public health guidelines as we move forward.”