Marts will be allowed to handle livestock trading in a limited way during the COVID-19 emergency.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and The Marine confirmed that limited trading is permitted following a series of talks between the department and the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS).
Marts must follow strict procedures and they won’t be open for auctions or to the public.
Instead, they will liaise with buyers and sellers and will match potential buyers of specific livestock to relevant sellers.
ICOS welcomed the confirmation saying it will alleviate the current economic burden on farmers seeking to trade animals.
They say it will also ensure that calves can be bought and sold within the now peak calving season.
ICOS Livestock and Environment Executive Ray Doyle said: “ICOS thanks the Government for the understanding it has demonstrated of the specific needs of our farmers at this time.
“While it is accepted that mart closures form an important element in the fight against COVID-19 in our communities, it is reasonable that a form of trading can still continue on the proposed restricted basis and this is also directly in the interests of animal welfare.
“The more that we can keep some element of economic activity ongoing in our rural communities then the more likely it will be that they will be able to recover their livelihoods in the aftermath of the current emergency.”
“This is an eminently reasonable outcome and the Department is to be commended for its solutions based approach to our proposals,” said Ray Doyle.