Covid-19 testing centre in Tipperary village ‘frightening people’ – McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that a Covid-19 testing centre that was set up in a village in Co. Tipperary was “frightening people”.

Speaking at the meeting of the Oireachtas Special Committee on Covid-19 Response, deputy McGrath asked: “There was a situation at Walsh Mushrooms in Golden – why is testing not done at the plant, given there is ample space?”

“Rather than going into the middle of a village and frightening people by setting up a camp there…”

There is further testing next Saturday but it should be done at the plant, where there is plenty of space away from the local village.

“It puts fear into people when they see the army and Gardaí arrive with the whole entourage. The inspections are pretty stark.”

‘With regard to Golden, I respectfully push back’

In response to concerns raised by the deputy, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said: “With regard to Golden, I want to respectfully push back.

“What happened was that an outbreak was detected very quickly and the healthcare services of the state were deployed in Tipperary almost instantly,” the minister said.

“All workers were sent home, isolated and tested. As a result of this ability to move quickly and comprehensively, we have the best chance of stopping the virus from spreading into the community in Tipperary.

“I understand the deputy is giving voice to the frustrations of the people he represents but, on this particular issue, I remind him that what happened in Tipperary was exactly what we have to see to suppress this virus, namely, the public health services working quickly and comprehensively to deal with the clusters as they emerge.”

‘They have dropped the ball’

Deputy McGrath continued, saying that “the factory in Cahir ten miles away was not closed.”

“The tests were done by a private company [in the factory in Cahir]… There was space in the mushroom plant.

Why was there a difference between what happened in Golden and what happened ten miles away? It was a whole different story in Cahir.

Minister Donnelly said he “cannot speak to an individual company that hires a private company for testing”, to which deputy McGrath said the government has “dropped the ball and lost public confidence”.