Sinn Féin Councillor Conor D. McGuinness has criticised the Minister for Agriculture for his failure to seek an accommodation for livestock buyers to permit attendance at marts on a restrictive basis.
McGuinness described Minister McConalogue’s position as ‘naïve’ and ‘uninformed’ as to the consequences of mart closures.
“Food production has rightly been deemed an essential service throughout the entire pandemic. The one part of the food production system that has been severally curtailed is the only part that farmers have any control – the marts.
“Farmers understand that restrictions are necessary and ask only that marts be respected as a critical component of the food production system.
“Allowing marts to be open to some buyers with strict physical distancing measures is the most sensible and practical way of allowing sales to continue while protecting public health.
“At present buyers are congregating in cars and gathering around laptops without social distancing so they can assist each other with the online purchasing process.
“I am therefore appealing again to the Minister to listen to Irish Farmers and to show some common sense in this situation. He needs to stop being naïve and realise that the current position is causing hardship and frustration among mart-goers and managements”.