ICOS outlines mart guidance for Level 5 restrictions

A list of guidance and directions for mart managers and customers has been issued by the Irish Cooperative Organisation Society (ICOS) today (Tuesday, October 20).

The directions come following the government’s announcement of Level 5 Covid-19 Restrictions, taking effect from midnight tomorrow night (Wednesday, October 21).

This follows negotiations held jointly between ICOS, Associated Livestock Marts and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the cooperative organisation says.

Commenting, Ray Doyle, national livestock and environmental services executive of ICOS, said:

It’s essential that we all work together to protect the health and wellbeing of people and communities throughout Ireland, and that we ensure animal welfare, all of which we have been doing throughout this crisis to date and which must continue with a redoubling of all our collective efforts to suppress and stop the spread of the virus.

“We are very grateful for the co-operation of our customers,” Doyle said.

“We ask for their continuing support and adherence to the measures that are necessary to ensure ongoing compliance and the continuance of our essential mart services.”

The following guidance has been issued by ICOS:
  • The mart is no longer a public auction but rather an auction by appointment whereby all sellers and buyers must give advance notice of their intention to attend the centre;
  • Face coverings are mandatory and must be worn. Hand washing is essential and sanitising gels must be used;
  • As is currently the case, all people attending the mart must have their time and mobile number recorded;
  • All sellers dropping animals must then immediately leave the mart premises;
  • All potential buyers must contact the mart manager to arrange and get approval to view livestock before the sale;
  • The actual viewing time allotted for viewing is up to the mart manager to decide. When the viewing time is up, all potential buyers must leave the mart premises and bid remotely online;
  • Any mart not online can use a tendering system as was in place last March. Sales cannot start if buyers are on the premises;
  • Buyers must cooperate and adhere to all necessary measures instructed during viewing times;
  • Social distancing of 2m is obligatory at all times and there is to be no waiting or hanging around by customers on the premises;
  • All sellers must be available to receive phone calls to accept/decline final bids for livestock, by arrangement with their local mart.

Continuing, Doyle said: “We greatly appreciate the cooperation and assistance of our customers with these measures.

“I also strongly commend mart management and staff for the excellent job they are doing.

“While onerous, the measures are designed to support the health and wellbeing for everyone in our communities,” the ICOS executive concluded.