Buyers to be let back to mart ringsides from next week

Additional reporting by Charles O’Donnell

Marts will be allowed to have buyers around the ringside once more from next week, with Ireland set to move to Level 3 on Tuesday, December 1, according to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue.

The minister was speaking at the virtual annual general meeting (AGM) of the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers’ Association (INHFA) which took place online earlier this evening (Friday, November 27).

Commenting, Minister McConalogue said:

I’m happy to announce that, at the cabinet meeting that finished just a little while ago, we agreed to move the country back to Level 3 – which means that, as of next week, buyers will be able to return to our marts.

This follows on from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine sending a letter to marts around the country last week, which provided an update on expected protocols for marts following the easing of restrictions.

This letter detailed what restrictions would mean on the ground, stating: “The conditions likely to apply under Level 4 are that buyers can enter the sales ring subject to a minimum social distance of 2m; otherwise, the same conditions as for Level 5 apply.

“The conditions likely to apply under Level 3 are that buyers can view stock in the pens without prior appointment subject to a minimum social distance of 2m; otherwise, the same conditions as for Level 4 apply,” the letter noted.