Tipperary farm leader says live marts must be kept open

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Tipperary farm leader says live marts must be kept open

IFA president Tim Cullinan says live marts must be kept open under Level 5 restrictions

IFA president Tim Cullinan has acknowledged the work by the Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue, his officials and the marts to keep business operating as close to normal as possible during the Level 5 restrictions. 

He said marts provide an essential service to farmers and the agricultural community, especially open and transparent market price competition, and security of payment. 

“The autumn trade is crucial and it would be hugely disruptive if trade could not continue. The overriding objective for everybody must be to ensure the mart trade continues to be facilitated in a live auction system,” he said.

The Toomevara farmer spoke with Minister McConalogue in advance of the Government decision to move to Level 5, stressing the importance of ensuring the marts could function in a workable way for buyers and sellers.

“The provision of viewing facilities for purchasers prior to the sale is important to allow the trade to function in a transparent way.”

Mr Cullinan said some marts were seeking to have a very limited number of buyers at the ringside, and flexibilities with viewing times to reflect the larger sales in this period.

“Every effort should be made to facilitate trading conditions that are as normal as possible, once social distancing and other guidelines are followed fully,” he said. 

IFA is in regular contact with the Department and the Minister to ensure the mart system can function as close to normal as is possible. 

IFA National livestock chairman Brendan Golden said it was critical that farming had been recognised as "essential work" in Level 5, which allowed farmers to go about their daily business.

He said it was important we all played our part in supporting the measures in place and that our service providers ensured the health and safety of their employees was catered for.