Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue T.D., has welcomed the lifting of the requirement for compulsory facemask wearing at livestock marts from Monday.
This means that there will no longer be specific rules relating to COVID-19 for marts from that date.
Minister McConalogue paid tribute to the efforts of mart staff and farmers in keeping marts operational throughout the pandemic.
“Mart managers and their staff, as well as buyers and sellers of livestock have shown tremendous resilience, agility and resourcefulness during the pandemic in dealing with the challenges of COVID-19 while continuing to trade online and at the ring. Marts showed a remarkable ability to completely evolve their selling practises to meet the challenges posed by COVID-19,” said Minister McConalogue.
“Buyers have returned to the ring, while online sales are continuing as part of a blended approach. I’m convinced the efforts of farmers and marts, adhering to the COVID-19 measures, has undoubtedly played a role in minimising and reducing the threat of COVID-19 in our communities while protecting Ireland’s food security. I admire and respect the efforts of marts and their customers to keep each other safe while keeping the wheels of our sector turning,” the Minister added.
“The risk of COVID-19 still remains in our communities, so I urge all farmers and mart staff to continue to take heed of the public health advice and be mindful of others as we move into this new phase,” he emphasised.
Cattle throughput at marts increased from 1,530,604 in 2020 to 1,841,958 in 2021, despite the challenges of the pandemic. This was aided by government grants totalling €233,695 to 61 marts in 2021 to fund ICT infrastructure to support online sales.