Mart representative organisations are in talks with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine – but representatives are hopeful that some limited ringside activity will be allowed in the new year during the latest Covid-19 restrictions.

Speaking to AgriLand, Ray Doyle, livestock and environmental services executive with the Irish Cooperative Organisation Society (ICOS), voiced his organisation’s hopes on the matter amid ongoing talks.

“We are hopeful that we will have some ringside activity with some extra controls. We are in discussions with the Department of Agriculture,” he said.

We will have online sales anyway but we are trying to ensure that we’ll have a limited number of buyers allowed to attend marts in a strictly controlled fashion.

“However, we would be encouraging people to use online facilities as much as possible to minimise the spread of Covid-19. But, if and when we do get the green light from the department, it’ll be in a strictly controlled fashion with very small numbers attending, if at all.

“We are still awaiting confirmation from the department on this; we are hopeful that this may be what will happen,” the ICOS executive said.

With the majority of cattle marts around the country winding up their final sales last week, numbers entered for sale were still high in some marts.

Earlier today (Tuesday, December 22) the Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed that the country will return to Level 5 restrictions with adjustments in a staggered manner from Christmas Eve onwards.

These restrictions will be reviewed on Tuesday, January 12.