ICOS has welcomed the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s provision of a new grants scheme for marts.
It recommends that grants should be used to cover technology upgrades to further strengthen online trading capability, and any associated costs.
Ray Doyle, Livestock and Environmental Services Executive of ICOS said it is their understanding that grants of up €5,000 per mart will be made available.
“This follows long and varied discussions that we have had with Minister McConalogue and the Department where we made the case for assistance to be provided.”
“We are grateful to Minister McConalogue for bringing forward this scheme which recognises the valuable role of marts as centres of competitive trade in livestock for farmers and rural communities across Ireland.
“Online mart sales systems have been in operation in Ireland since early April. Hundreds of thousands of cattle and sheep have been bought and sold successfully using the various online platforms.”
Blend of online and in-person bidding
He said internet-based trading is now an “integral” part of the mart business with “many benefits” for farmers. These, he added, include convenience in normal times and enhanced health and safety during the current pandemic.
“A blend of online and in-person bidding is the fairest and best auction process for livestock. It enhances access and interest in the sales process which is good for overall competition, yielding fair market value for buyers and sellers which has always been a benefit of trading through the marts.”
“We had also stressed to Minister McConalogue that the mart industry must have as quick and as safe a return as possible to having farmers physically present around sales rings.”
“We will welcome the forthcoming alleviation of restrictions while continuing to stay vigilant and observing all necessary protocols,” Doyle concluded.