An East Galway TD has welcomed assurances from the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed that ways are being explored to ensure the sale of livestock for the county's farmers.
Minister for the Diaspora and International Development Ciaran Cannon said that a number pilot initiatives have already been introduced, in respect of calf sales in particular, and a further update will be provided in the coming days.
Minister Cannon said; “I appreciate fully the impact that the closure of marts may have on farm livelihoods in regions like east Galway and I therefore welcome Minister Creed's assurance that his department is working with stakeholders on contingency measures, to ensure that, as far as possible, livestock sales are facilitated without the need for a live sale or an organised event in mart facilities.
“Marts play a pivotal role in the orderly movement, traceability, and sale of animals which is essential in securing food supplies, while also ensuring farmers receive a fair market price for their animals.
“I also wish to acknowledge the major efforts that mart managers have made over the past week or so to reduce numbers in attendance and implement enhanced hygiene measures as well as social distancing in line with HSE guidelines.
“As has been noted, the challenge now is to find other innovative methods that can facilitate the trade and movement of animals in a transparent and secure way and while it will be difficult to replace the public auction element at a mart, all other options are currently being explored.
Minister Cannon added; “A number of pilot initiatives have already been introduced, in respect of calf sales in particular, and I welcome the assurance that a further update on discussions with all of the stakeholders involved will be provided in the coming days.”