Marts must be given the chance to facilitate ring-side buyers

The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association has called on the Minister and Government to make immediate changes to the current restrictions that apply to the sale of livestock through our marts.

National President Colm O’Donnell stressed how marts need to be given the chance to facilitate ring-side buyers in a socially distanced manner that protects those present. I have he stated “every confidence that our mart managers and their staff can do this, as they have been doing so for the last number of months.”

The introduction of level 5 and the associated restrictions for the sale of livestock through our marts has he maintained, “being poorly thought out with no consideration given to its impact on livestock sales and price. For many of our farmers especially those in the sheep and suckler sectors the sale of stock at this time of year is essential in providing the income that pays their bills and provides them with cash-flow into next Spring. To deny these farmers the opportunity of getting the best price possible will negatively impact their income well into next year.”

The Government he continued “needs to act now and allow ring-side sales to recommence. This issue needs to be recognized as an essential form of trading. If off-licenses can stay open at a time where the chief medical officer recognizes the clear link between alcohol and the spread of the virus then there can be no reason to prohibit the ring-side sale of livestock.”

The INHFA President concluded by outlining the role of the Government in fighting this virus by bringing as many people as possible with them. There is, he stated “a definite change in people’s attitude now to last Spring with more questioning of restrictions and why they are applied. Currently inside farming there is a clear view that the Government has got this one spectacularly wrong. They need to accept this and act on it or otherwise they will lose the farming support and much of rural Ireland.”