A mart manager has openly shared her views on Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions in livestock marts.
Under Level 5, sales are held online-only under level 5, with purchasers required to conduct business remotely. A drop and go system is in operation for sellers, with all lots sold subject to their confirmation.
All potential buyers must contact mart managers to arrange and seek approval to view livestock before sales.
Sales were called off and cattle were sent home at several marts across the country yesterday (Saturday, October 24th), after an online mart sales system experienced a server error for a period.
This has resulted in reiterated calls for a limited number of pre-registered buyers to be permitted around sales rings.
32 years’ experience in the livestock industry
Sharing her views on the matter, Ann Harkin of Raphoe Livestock Mart said: “What happened today around the country in marts is a reflection on how technology can and will fail, not a reflection on individual marts or individual companies who supply the software.”
“Today was a disaster for sellers, buyers, mart management, staffs, auctioneers and animals.”
“As a mart manager with experience of 32 years in the livestock industry, I can’t understand why the government and the powers that be made the decision to stop ringside bidding and selling at marts when they know absolutely nothing about the way in which marts operate.”
Marts around the country, she added, have “done everything that has been asked of them” regarding COVID-19 protocols.
“A lot of effort and expense went into making the marts a safe environment for everyone who attends the sales.”
“I think it’s time marts and farmers be consulted on how to conduct such sales. Farmers are and always will be the backbone of the Irish economy and the Government knows just how vital farming is to this economy and should treat us as the essential industry that we are.”
“It’s time we were consulted and let us do what we know how to do best and let them take care of things they know about,” Harkin concluded.