While a return to the mart ringsides in the month of May is not foreseen, the prospect of getting buyers back to the mart rings by June has not been ruled out, according to the Mart Managers of Ireland.

The mart manager representative organisation held a meeting with Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue and officials from his department yesterday (Wednesday, April 28).

In a statement today following on from the meeting, the Mart Managers of Ireland said:

“Various topics were covered with the reopening of the mart rings being top of the list.

“We were informed that unfortunately they do not foresee a return to the ringside in May – but we will not rule out a return in June.”

The manager association noted that the department felt that marts have “continued to operate relatively well” throughout the pandemic and resultant restrictions.

“They were very thankful to all the marts for their tremendous work in accommodating this,” the statement said.

“We did stress to the minister that, while we have been very fortunate with the online systems, there are other issues at play which necessitate a return to ringside buying and selling as soon as possible.

“Other items which were on the agenda were grants for marts and the introduction of electronic tagging for cattle and systems which will need to be installed in marts.

“The case for the loss of the quality assurance bonus on beef cattle being presented at marts for sale was also discussed in detail. This will be followed up with Bord Bia and the Beef Market Taskforce.”

Continuing, it was noted that exports to Northern Ireland and Great Britain were also discussed, as well as the testing requirements and residency periods required.

“While there was no immediate solution offered for either, all our points were explained in detail to the minister,” the group said.

“It was great for the minister to meet mart managers from all parts of the country and get an understanding for the difficulties marts face which was the main purpose of the meeting today,” the organisation concluded.