‘Only buyers will be allowed into the ring; it’s for everyone’s safety’

Yesterday at Loughrea Mart’s weekly sheep sale, AgriLand spoke to the mart’s manager, Jimmy Cooney, to find out how the new Level 3 restrictions are being rolled out in the mart.

On (Monday), October 5, an Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced that Level 3 restrictive measures will apply to the whole country, as of October 6.

Livestock marts around the country have been directed by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to adjust their operations for tighter restrictions.

At yesterday’s sale, in Loughrea Mart, all sheep were sold in pens, so buyers had to keep there distance (2m), while sellers kept away, from a distance. At this Saturday’s cattle sale, only buyers will be allowed into the ring (by appointment).

Speaking about what actions are taking place to ensure the safety of the mart’s customers, Jimmy said: “All along, since the mart reopened fully, we have been implementing strict social distancing measures.

“These measures, obviously, will continue to be implemented in light of the new Level 3 restrictions that have been applied to the entire country.

“Facemasks are a must, and no one will be allowed into the mart without one, which has been the case since it was made mandatory.

I suppose the biggest difference with these new restrictions is that buyers will only be allowed into the ring. Only the seller whos cattle are in the ring will be allowed into the ring.

“The seller will have to go again once their lot(s) have gone through the ring. Anyone who has no business at the mart, won’t be allowed into the ring, unfortunately; it’s just the way it is at the moment.

“If we want to keep the mart open, we have to adhere to these conditions.

“It’s for everyone’s safety that these measures are being implemented. We would all love to be able to go back to the way we were operating before Covid-19 struck; however, unfortunately, that isn’t going to be the case.”