'Unreasonable' to ask businesses to close while meat plants remain open, Cork TD says

“The Minister for Health said that he believes that meat plants in the affected areas should close but we cannot be expected to rely on the industry itself to make this call," Holly Cairns outlined.
'Unreasonable' to ask businesses to close while meat plants remain open, Cork TD says
Holly Cairns: 'This crisis speaks volumes about the powerful interests that control the meat processing industry.'

Any meat factory affected by a cluster of Covid-19 cases should be forced to shut down, according to the Social Democrats.

At yesterday's Special Covid-19 Committee hearing, meat industry representatives said their preference is the implementation of testing regimes instead of shutdowns.

However, Social Democrats TD, Holly Cairns, says the meat industry is being treated differently to other business sectors.

“The Minister for Health said that he believes that meat plants in the affected areas should close but we cannot be expected to rely on the industry itself to make this call," she outlined.

"We need to know if there is a plan in place to close plants and, if so, if there will be implications for the food supply chain.”

Ms Cairns also highlighted other issues within the sector.

“For some time I have been calling for the establishment of a task force for the industry to examine issues within the sector. These include poor working conditions, lack of sick pay and high-risk accommodation and transport arrangements, all of which create conditions where the virus can thrive.

“This crisis speaks volumes about the powerful interests that control the meat processing industry and raises questions about some of their political connections.

It is completely unreasonable to ask other businesses where there have been no outbreaks to close while allowing meat plants, the main source of these clusters, to remain open.

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