A spokesperson for Meat Industry Ireland (MII) has said that meat plants will continue to work with the HSE and local control teams to ensure that significant measures are put in place to combat the spread of Covid-19.
“This is a huge learning curve,” Cormac Healy told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.
“I fully understand concerns at the unfortunate number of clusters,” he said.
Mr Healy added that where clusters have occurred the HSE has been engaged in “several of those facilities” and full site screenings have been carried out.
The Meat Industry Ireland director also pointed out that of the 56 meat plants in the country working under approval from the Department of Agriculture, only 16 had clusters and a significant number had zero cases.
“The measures employed are working.”
On the issue of controls within the industry, Mr Healy said such controls had been put in place from the early days of the virus.
“Meat Industry Ireland introduced measures well before the government protocols. We put together our own based on knowledge of best practice.”
A “significant suite” of measures are in place, he said, and they are constantly being augmented.
When asked about the problem of meat industry workers living in shared accommodation and if plans were being made to provide alternatives where staff could self isolate, Mr Healy said that accommodation was shared across many industries.
The workforce of Meat Industry Ireland was largely Irish and European with fewer than 20% working in the country under the permit system. The ruled apply equally to everyone whether they share accommodation or not, he said.