Farmers with poor broadband must not be forgotten about in move to online Livestock Marts – Claire Kerrane TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Rural and Community Development, Claire Kerrane TD, has urged the Taoiseach to address the issue of how poor broadband is impacting on online Livestock Marts.
Raising the issue with the Taoiseach in the Dáil this afternoon, Kerrane said:
“In line with the new Covid-19 regulations, all Livestock Marts are expected to trade online and online only.
“We need to support farmers and farm families now more than ever and therefore, I have asked for there to be limited access for buyers in our Marts.
“The move online for Marts is welcome and for some farmers, it suits them and it worked well previously. However, the reality is many farmers have no access to a computer let alone broadband.
“There has to be due consideration for farmers who are in rural areas where the broadband infrastructure is simply not there.
“There is a huge issue with broadband infrastructure. I spoke to one Mart manager yesterday, their internet is extremely poor. Furthermore, farmers at home and buyers simply do not have the broadband to participate.
“I appreciate we can’t have concessions for everything in relation to these new restrictions, but we are talking about farmers’ livelihoods. We need to support them and their families at this most difficult time.
“Marts have gone above and beyond to ensure that social distancing is in place and so I would ask that you look at this and that this issue is reconsidered.”
Teachta Kerrane has also written to the Minister for Agriculture seeking some leeway for farmers at socially distanced and reduced numbers where they cannot access online sales.