ICOS co-operative marts, represented by Ray Doyle, and Associated Livestock Marts, represented by Eric Driver, whose organisations collectively represent the majority of all livestock marts in Ireland, have today jointly met with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and have discussed a broad set of standard operating procedures for consideration by the Government.
It is hoped that the proposed procedures may allow a measured return to a limited marts auction process while ensuring compliance with all necessary measures against the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
If the initiative was to proceed, stringent measures have been proposed that would be strictly enforced to ensure a limited and tightly controlled attendance of buyers and sellers. They would attend by appointment only and social distancing would be rigorously adhered to during the process. General visitors, members of the public or other farmers would not be allowed to enter marts under any circumstances while COVID-19 measures are in place.
It has been stressed that the outcome of any such discussions with DAFM would be subject to onward consideration and approval by the health authorities.
The proposals are intended to ensure animal welfare, to maintain the supply chain, to ensure continuity in the national herd and to avoid any glut in the trade of animals while also allowing for essential economic activity to take place, while foremost in our discussions is not to add to the spread of COVID-19.