‘Closure of meat plants must not result in reduced prices for farmers’ – Cahill

Following the outbreak of Covid-19 in a number of meat factories in Co. Tipperary, Fianna Fáil TD Jackie Cahill has called for the “highest public health standards” to be maintained in factories.

Speaking in relation to recent confirmed Covid-19 cases in factories, deputy Cahill feels this “highlights the need” for such standards to be maintained.

Deputy Cahill also raised concerns over reduced capacity due to the closure of plants, and that it must “not result in reduced prices for farmers”.

He explained:

“The closure of meat plants such as Kildare Chilling has highlighted the need to ensure that farmers are not forced to pay the price for reduced processing capacity.

Prices must not be reduced for farmers who are already financially squeezed at this level as it is. This can be prevented by increasing production in plants that are still operating, through extended operating hours.

“The closure of plants is further evidence that more independent operators in the meat industry are needed. The proposed Banagher plant is a prime example of this.

“This is necessary for healthy competition in the market and for fair prices for hard-pressed farmers,” Cahill concluded.

22 cases of Covid-19 at ABP Cahir

Cahill’s concerns come off the back of news that ABP Food Group has confirmed 22 cases of Covid-19 at its processing plant in Cahir, following the testing of 460 staff.

The tests were carried out after consultation with the Health Service Executive (HSE), the company says.

Also Read: ABP Cahir operating at ‘limited capacity’ following further Covid-19 positive tests

All close contacts of those impacted are currently self-isolating. Testing of close contacts of positive cases at the plant by the HSE has identified an additional 16 cases.

This brings the total number of positive cases as a result of this testing to 38, an ABP spokesperson said.

As a precaution, the site has been operating at a limited capacity since the first positive test on August 14. The company said it continues to work in close collaboration with the HSE.