The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is “monitoring the situation and will liaise with marts in due course” in relation to any easing of Covid-19 restrictions over the coming weeks.

In response to an AgriLand query on the matter yesterday, a spokesperson for the department said:

Health measures are still necessary for the time being.

Marts have been able to operate online throughout Level 5 and must continue to do so. Any ease of current restrictions will be subject to prevailing public health concerns.

“The department is monitoring the situation and will liaise with the marts in due course,” the spokesperson added.

When asked about a timescale for the recommencement of agricultural construction, the department did not shed any light, instead stating: “Anticipated changes in relation to the construction sector have been announced by the government.”

In terms of statistics on the move to virtual mart sales, the department representative added:

Online mart sales throughput from January 1, to March 14, 2021, is 94% for cattle and 100% for sheep of the corresponding period in 2020, prior to Covid-19.

“The minister [Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue] again thanks mart managers, their staff as well as farmers for cooperating with the public health guidelines and helping to keep each other safe,” the department spokesperson concluded.