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Going to the mart, watching out for each other and sick pay – farm bodies issue advice during Coronavirus outbreak

Farmers should only go to the mart if they have animals to sell or buy, according to a statement released today as a number of restrictions are put in place around the country to deal with the Coronavirus outbreak.

The Irish Co-Op Organisation Society (ICOS) have asked that only ‘trading customers’ should attend marts until further notice – and that the marts will be limited to 100 people as per instructions given by the Government today.

And the IFA have reminded self-employed farmers that they are entitled in income support if they should become sick with the virus.

“We are committed to taking every step necessary to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of everyone associated with our marts nationwide,” said ICOS in a statement.

“In view of guidance issued today by the Government and HSE, we will be putting a range of additional measures in place as follows:

  • We kindly ask that only ‘trading customers’ should attend marts until further notice,  i.e. only those buying or selling livestock.
  • We most respectfully ask non-trading patrons to refrain from visiting until further notice up to 29th March when further guidance will be provided.
  • The number of people attending individual mart ringsides at any one time will be limited to 100, which will be managed on a strict rotation system, i.e. using admission cards which will be rotated among patrons at the entrance/exit to the mart ringside or other such monitoring methods as devised by the mart.

“In conclusion, rural Ireland is renowned for its great community spirit.

“Please stay in touch with your neighbours and friends, perhaps best by phone, email, social media, and particularly with the elderly to ensure their care and wellbeing while observing all necessary HSE guidelines.”

Meanwhile, IFA Farm Family & Social Affairs Chair Caroline Farrell has welcomed changes that mean farmers and other self-employed, if diagnosed with COVID-19 or are suspected of having COVID-19, will be entitled to income support.

“The enhanced Illness Benefit announced by the Government means farmer will be entitled to €305 per week for a maximum of two weeks if they are medically required to self-isolate,” she said.

Mrs Farrell said if your GP diagnoses you with COVID-19 or you are medically certified to self-isolate, you can apply for Illness Benefit.

The current six-day waiting period for Illness Benefit will not apply.

Anybody concerned that they have symptoms should phone their local GP.

SEE ALSO – All GAA activity – club and county – postponed until March 29

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Steven Miller is owner and managing editor of LaoisToday.ie. From Laois, Steven studied Journalism in DCU and has 14 years experience in the media, almost 10 of those in an editorial role. Husband of Emily, father of William and Lillian, he's happiest when he's telling stories or kicking a point.