The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has processed all 61 applications that it received under the Marts ICT Infrastructure Scheme 2021.
That is according to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, who provided confirmation to deputy Carol Nolan.
On March 1st, 2021, the minister announced details of the Marts ICT Infrastructure Scheme 2021.
Under the scheme, livestock marts could apply to the department for a grant of a maximum of €5,000 to cover 50% of expenditure on ICT infrastructure.
The expenditure must have occurred after the opening date, March 1st, 2021.
According to the minister, expenditure prior to this was ineligible. The closing date for receipt of applications was November 15th, 2021.
The minister told Nolan that marts received an average payment of €3,961 under the scheme.
He highlighted that “marts played a pivotal role in keeping the wheels of agriculture turning while ensuring farming communities remained safe during COVID-19”.
Furthermore, he commended mart managers, their staff and customers for “playing a blinder”.
Previously, the minister stated that a blend of online and in-person sales are “good for competition”.
“More people have an opportunity to bid on livestock than could attend a sale on a mart’s premises.”
Each year, nearly three million cattle and sheep are sold through livestock marts.
Deputy Carol Nolan said:
“Minister McConalogue has commended mart managers, their staff and customers for playing a blinder.”
“On that point, we could not agree more. I look forward to seeing our vitally important mart infrastructure supported and expanded over the coming years.”
“We need to maintain momentum around upgrading ICT infrastructure in all areas of the rural economy,” Nolan added.
Covid-19 measures in marts
In other related news, social distancing rules and limits on the number of people attending individual ringsides in livestock marts no longer apply.
However, staff and customers must continue to wear masks in marts “for now”.
Micheál Martin recently announced that government agreed to remove “most” public health measures from 6 am on January 22nd, 2022.