Minister needs to put in place sensible Covid-19 Regulations for Marts – Feeley

  Councillor John Paul Feeley has called on Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD to urgently intervene to ensure that Covid-19 regulations are amended to allow buyers back into the Marts so that buyers can bid around the ring and farmers can get a fair price.
‘Farmers and mart managers were very happy with the arrangements in place prior to this most recent lockdown. Buyers and sellers were able to keep an eye on trading via on-line methods and bid along with those obeying social distancing around the ring. Under the new restrictions all trading must be done on-line. In many marts the broadband infrastructure is not there and in reality buyers have to be able to see the animals they want to buy move around the ring before they will part with their money.’
‘Most importantly, these weeks are the only opportunity many suckler farmers have to sell their weanlings. They are entitled to get the best possible price and the current restrictions are preventing that happening. Huge numbers of animals are coming on the market at this time and action is urgently needed.’
‘Farmers and mart operators are hugely aware of the need to obey restrictions. They know what is at stake here and must be given the chance to operate in a safe way which allows farmers the chance to get a proper and fair price.’
We have the ridiculous situation of buyers sitting around outside marts trying to get a broadband connection and waiting with jeep and trailer to collect animals they might buy when they should be able to go in and observing the need to wear masks and observe social distancing, bid for the animals they want, create the competition needed to give farmers the price to which they are entitled.