Laois/Offaly TD blasts 'ongoing failure' of Government to control Covid-19 in meat factories

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Laois/Offaly TD blasts 'ongoing failure' of Government to control Covid-19 in meat factories

Laois/Offaly TD blasts 'ongoing failure' of Government to control Covid-19 in meat factories

A Laois/Offaly TD has hit out at the Government for its ongoing failure to control the spread of Covid-19 in meat factories.

Local Sinn Féin TD, Brian Stanley, says the Midlands outbreak and lockdown is deeply disappointing and worrying as it will put further jobs and people’s health at risk

He said it has come as 'a double whammy' for people in Laois/Offaly who were just getting back to some level of normality following the partial lifting of restrictions adding that special and additional support measures are now needed for business affected by this in the Midlands.

Deputy Stanley stated, "the risk of clusters developing in meat plants is well known for five months. This required a clear set of actions by Government and the industry. From what workers have been telling me on an ongoing basis, some factories did respond correctly but others clearly chose not to. I brought these failures to the attention of the Minister for Agriculture and Food as far back as a meeting on April 15 and on numerous occasions since, including in the Dáil.

"Ministers were too quick to dismiss these concerns. There has been ongoing failure by Government to ensure that effective measures were put in place."

The measures he believes to be implemented include regular unannounced Covid control inspections of all meat plants, rolling and regular testing of staff and he says that when a worker or group test positive, production should be halted.

He also believes that no worker should be allowed back on the factory floor until they have the all clear and adequate personal protection equipment should be supplied to staff along with adequate facilities provided to maintain hygiene and disinfection.

Deputy Stanley continued, "I have had complaints from numerous workers that in many plants this did not happen and Government now a responsibility to ensure it does. Management in factories should also listen to the concerns of staff and work in partnership with them and their trade union representatives to make workplaces as safe as possible and limit the spread of this deadly virus." 

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