17 May 2021

Minister of State,  Anne Rabbitte welcomed the return of buyers to the rings of life stock markets all over the country:

Most farmers have been role models in adhering to public health guidelines throughout the ongoing pandemic and the threats of Covid-19 in our communities.  Cultivators of the earth are our most valuable citizens. They are tied to their country and shaped by their fields.  In the landscape of home, in the breeze brushing over rows of crops, in the seasons of planting and harvesting, patient men, women and families, tried by brutal seasons, by the pandemic, few us would keep plowing, spring after spring – but not the farmer.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue T.D., has welcomed the return of buyers to the rings of livestock marts all over the country while adhering to public health guidelines. Online trading will continue to be facilitated, alongside the return of in-ring buying.

Speaking to farmers and mart staff in Carndonagh Mart, Co Donegal today, Minister McConalogue paid tribute to their efforts in keeping mart sales going while online.

This is a great day for our network of marts across the country. Mart managers, their staff as well 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 the efforts of farmers and marts in recent months, adhering to the COIVD-19 measures, has undoubtedly played a role in minimising and reducing the threat of COVID-19 in our communities.

Cattle throughput from 1st January to 14th March 2021 was at 94% of the comparable period in 2020.  Sheep throughput in the same period was at 100% of the comparable period for 2020.

Buyers may attend the sales ring and view stock in pens. However, this must be done by prior appointment with the livestock mart. 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.

Marts must operate according to COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) which have been approved by their Regional Veterinary Office.

Minister McConalogue said he is encouraging farmers and buyers to continue to use online platforms as a way of trading livestock.

Livestock mart sales will continue to be a blend of both online and ringside as we move forward. This blended approach, with a strong online element, has proved to be an excellent way of trading cattle and sheep.

I am urging farmers, buyers and marts to pay particular attention to the public health guidelines as we move forward. We all have our role to play in keeping each other safe and this is as important at the mart as anywhere else.