Tipperary TD says meat plants should face closure until Covid situation is remedied

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Tipperary TD says meat plants should face closure until Covid situation is remedied

Tipperary TD Martin Browne has said meat plants should face closure until Covid situation is remedied

Tipperary Sinn Féin TD Martin Browne has said that meat factories should be closed until the situation with Covid-19 and shared accommodation for staff is remedied.

He said the powers that be were “dragging their heels” on an issue that had been first raised back in April.

“Nothing has improved since then. The factories should be closed if they won’t take responsibility themselves,” he said.

He was commenting following the closure of four meat plants and meat processors in Offaly, Laois and Kildare, after Covid-19 outbreaks. The counties have subsequently been put under a two-week lockdown.

And, he said, the farming organisations should also be calling for their closure as their members had to interact with factory staff when they brought cattle to the plants.

With many of the outbreaks being attributed to factory workers having to live in shared accommodation, Deputy Browne said that when it came to providing accommodation for their employees, meat factory employers must be responsible for their staff.

“Otherwise, are we going to see massive clusters like the nursing homes?” he asked.

He feared that workers at meat plants might work in one county but live in another and bring Covid-19 with them.

Deputy Browne pointed out that the HSA was not allowing its staff to go to the meat plants because of safety concerns.

“The HSA is there to protect the rest of us and to make sure the regulations are being obeyed,” he said. “We are going to be in serious trouble if it is not tackled.”

However, Deputy Browne said that he was heartened by the fact there were no reports about outbreaks in the meat plants in Nenagh, Roscrea and Cahir.