'Getting information on Covid outbreaks at Tipperary meat factories like drawing teeth'

Dylan White

Reporter:

Dylan White

Email:

dylan.white@iconicnews.ie

Tipperary Joint Policing Committee

Tipperary Joint Policing Committee

A Tipperary TD has said meat factories need to fully disclose outbreaks of Covid-19 at their workplaces.

At a recent Tipperary Joint Policing Committee meeting, Deputy Martin Browne questioned whether gardaí are being informed about Covid-19 outbreaks in meat factories.

He said there is ongoing “scaremongering” with regards to outbreaks in factories.

“Both workers and the public are coming to us [about this],” he said.

“I have been ringing the factories to ensure we are getting first-hand information, but at times it’s like drawing teeth trying to get information,” he added.

Tipperary IFA chairperson Imelda Walsh said it’s imperative that the owners of factories ensure that their staff are tested regularly for Covid-19.

“That had been the case last year,” she said.

“The outbreaks in the factories are much, much less than last year. In fairness to management - I don’t often say this about meat processing plants - they have had their fingers on the pulse in managing that situation quite well.

“The last thing we want is scaremongering that there are massive issues in meat processing factories. That further leads to difficulties in relation to keeping the food chain and supply moving.

“What happens here makes its way across the world to China and many of our customers get concerned if there are huge outbreaks in meat processing factories, which there are not at the moment,” Ms Walsh added.

Chief Superintendent Derek Smart said meat processing factories are on the agenda of gardaí.

“We liaise very closely with the HSE. If there is an outbreak we are informed about it and get in supports for the community,” he said.

“There are a lot of incidents where people are living on their own and they need support, so we proactively engage with meat plants on this,” he added.