Open livestock auctions will resume from Monday (June 8th), onwards at ICOS co-operative marts across the country.
The co-operative umbrella organisation has warmly welcomed this development while confirming that marts will operate strict protocols of social distancing, including recorded entry and exit, to ensure that visitors numbers are maintained at appropriate levels.
“Through our discussions with the Department of Agriculture and all other stakeholders to date, it has been possible to maintain limited trading processes at the marts during the lockdown period to date.”
“It is simply brilliant to be able restart open auctions and we pay tribute to everyone who has worked tirelessly to create the circumstances to make this possible,” said Ray Doyle of ICOS.
Measures to contain spread of Covid-19
Marts have put in place measures ranging from physical distancing mechanisms to reconfiguring seating arrangements and new methods of channelling visitors and livestock, to ensure the two-metre rule can be maintained, including one way systems wherever feasible and all necessary hygiene control measures, he added.
“Farmers and the wider rural community can be proud of their local marts as an engine for rural economic development and a key pillar of competition where the true value of livestock can be realised through a competitive auction process.”
He stressed that the capability of marts to resume full operations relies “very much” on the co-operation of our customers, buyers and sellers to maintain social distancing at all times and to work with mart staff to ensure this will be the case.
“In line with ongoing requirements for health and safety, we still recommend that only people with actual business to conduct should attend marts, and everyone should continue to be aware of the public health guidelines available at HSE.ie.”
“We may all hope that the reopening of the economy will proceed as safely and successfully as possible.”
Benefits of the resumption of open auctions
In saying that, ICOS said it particularly acknowledges the severe impact that the public health crisis is having on individuals, families, businesses and communities throughout Ireland.
“We express our warm appreciation to our customers, all mart staff, farmers and frontline workers, including the emergency and health services, for their ongoing commitment throughout this time and onwards.”
“The resumption of open auctions will support animal welfare, maintain the supply chain, ensure continuity in the national herd and will help to avoid any glut in the trade of animals, allowing essential economic activity to take place, while foremost in all our minds is to ensure that everyone avoids any possibility for the further spread of COVID-19.” Doyle concluded.