103 new Covid-19 cases in meat plants in past week

103 new cases of Covid-19 have been identified in meat processors in the past week.

This figure accounts for the past week up to 12:00am on Saturday, May 23, the chief medical officer Dr. Tony Holohan informed attendees at the daily Department of Health briefing on the Covid-19 pandemic yesterday, Tuesday, May 26.

These additional 103 cases bring the total number of cases in meat plants to 925, Dr. Holohan said.

According to Meat Industry Ireland (MII) as of last week, some 60% of meat plant staff who have contracted Covid-19 have since recovered and have returned to work.

WRC inspections

A total of 17 employers associated with meat processing have been inspected by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) since January 2019, according to Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys.

Minister Humphreys was responding to a question in the Dáil last Thursday, May 21, from Green Party TD Francis Noel Duffy.

In response to deputy Duffy’s concerns over employee welfare in meat plants, highlighted by the clusters of Covid-19 in meat plants, amounting to 828 cases at the time, the minister said:

“Since January 2019, 17 employers associated with meat processing have been inspected by the WRC.

In six of those cases, contraventions of legislation were detected and three have been approved for prosecution, with inquiries ongoing in the other three cases.

“No breaches of the language training or accommodation conditions were detected.”