Why rural Ireland misses in-person marts

Livestock Mart 001Agridirect discusses how in-person marts were an important social outlet for Irish farmers, and argues for their post-pandemic return.

 

A comic strip on page 2 of last week’s Irish Farmers Journal caught my eye. In the foreground of the scene, Taoiseach Micheál Martin engages Agriculture Minister Charlie MacConalogue in conversation.

An Taoiseach: Could we reopen the marts just for the over 80s, Charlie?

Minister MacConalogue: They’re all vaccinated Taoiseach, it could work!

Off to the right, in the background, elderly farmers queue up for what looks like a late bar or nightclub. But the sign above the door reads “MART”. Another sign, at the top of the queue, sets out the entry requirements: “Over 80s only”. A tuxedoed bouncer wearing dark glasses stands in the doorway, checking IDs, ready to turn away anyone not yet an octogenarian.

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