The Minister for Agriculture has been asked to appear before the Oireacthas Agriculture Committee to address ongoing issues with mart sales and the controversy surrounding the recall of ViraPro hand sanitiser.

In a letter from the Committee chair Jackie Cahill the Minister is asked to redeploy civil servants from restaurant inspection duties to supervise the attendance of a small number of buyers at marts.

The Committee said allowing mart attendance would allow buyers without access to broadband an opportunity to buy animals.

Currently all mart sales are online only, with no buyers allowed attend marts or view animals for sale in the sales ring.

In the letter Mr Cahill asks Minister McConalogue to 'Respond to these issues within 24 hours'.

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The Department of Agriculture has faced growing calls for in-person sales to resume due to ongoing issues with broadband connectivity for both mart operators and farmers.

But Government sources have indicated there will be no easing of Level 5 restrictions at marts. 

The Manager of Blessington Mart, John Doyle said today that the restrictions on mart attendance is unfair given that weddings can proceed with 25 guests and elite sporting events are taking place.

The Manager of Maam Cross Mart in Connemara said that whilst online sales had helped the sector, there was also a need for attendance in the sales ring to enhance sales.

Bríd Burke said that persistent difficulties with broadband access had meant that sales had been interrupted with connections dropping out. She said both online and in person sales needed to happen in tandem.

ICOS which represents many marts said that despite issues the trade had remained resilient.

Ray Doyle said that trade was only back 9.6% year-to-date, despite marts being closed for weeks earlier this year and despite the return of online only sales.

Mr Doyle said, "We can, however work with and improve what we already have in place and this is what we are doing while ensuring to communicate the real and present concerns of our sector to Government."