15 June 2001

Irish Republic will resume live auction marts

By Philip Clarke

LIVE auction marts will resume in Eire on Monday (June 18) for the first time since foot-and-mouth disease was discovered on the island in late February.

Initially, only cattle may be traded in this way, though multiple pick-ups and destinations will be allowed in respect of movements to marts, export points and meat factories.

To the relief of the Republics farmer organisations, the burdensome system of applying for permits is to be dropped for these movements, as well as for cattle being moved within holdings. But the permit system for farm-to-farm movements and for sales to Northern Ireland will remain.

Farm minister Joe Walsh has also decided to keep the 30-day holding rule for sales through marts and for farm-to-farm movement. This stipulates that cattle must have been on the vendors farm for at least 30 days before any trade can take place.

Irish Farmers Association president Tom Parlon has complained this 30-day rule is not required under EU legislation. It should be removed on June 22, when Ireland is granted full F&M-free status by the International Office of Epizootics (OIE) in Paris, he says.

The IFA is also keen for a swift resumption of live sheep sales.

&#8226 Although Dutch livestock marts received permission to open on Monday (June 11), they remained closed this week in protest at the strict conditions imposed on them by farm minister Laurens Jan Brinkhorst. The rules demand strict separation of fat cattle, calves and heifers, and tight limits on transport arrangements and holding times. &#42