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Marts under restrictions until June 8

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A farmer waiting to register as a buyer at Macroom Mart, Co Cork before marts were closed. Picture Denis Boyle

A farmer waiting to register as a buyer at Macroom Mart, Co Cork before marts were closed. Picture Denis Boyle

A farmer waiting to register as a buyer at Macroom Mart, Co Cork before marts were closed. Picture Denis Boyle

Marts will not be among the business which will see restrictions lifted this month, according to the Government's plans to re-open the economy in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Marts will re-open in phase two of the Government's plan, which is scheduled to come into force on June 8.

The move is a blow to many marts, who had hoped to reopen in a restricted capacity in the coming days after new protocols were developed by mart managers and their representatives.

The proposals, submitted to the Department of Agriculture, included allowing marts have a limited number of buyers in the ring at any one time, with no sellers on site, which would allow an auction of stock take place.

It's understood that a push is being made by some marts for the newly proposed operating procedures to be brought in before the June 8 lifting of restrictions as announced by the Taoiseach on Friday.

The Department confirmed that the majority of mart businesses are currently facilitating trade in animals in a restricted way in accordance with standard operating procedures agreed with the Department, and that such arrangements would continue.

However, iIt also said the roadmap signals an ability to vary the current arrangements to facilitate a more expansive service.

The closure of the marts for such a prolonged period is likely to wreak havoc on the viability of the sector already under pressure financially in recent years.

Too late

One mart manager said a June re-opening would be "too late" for some marts, which would miss out on the current busy trading period.

However, other mart managers say a return to normal for marts before June 8 should not happen.

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