The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has been called on to carry out an inspection of the Liffey Meats processing plant in Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan, citing apparent claims relating to “worker safety”.

The call has been made by trade union SIPTU and the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI), who issued a joint statement on the matter today, Tuesday, April 28.

This comes after the issuing of a statement by Liffey Meats yesterday evening that sought to dispute related assertions that appeared on social media last weekend.

The statement from SIPTU and the MRCI outlines the following: “Over recent days we have been receiving calls from SIPTU members, many of whom are migrant workers, employed at Liffey Meats in Ballyjamesduff, who are concerned about their health and safety in the plant.

We have asked the employer to ensure that our members are working in a safe environment.

“We are seeking to ensure that all the required precautions against Covid-19, including physical distancing; hand-washing and sanitising facilities; as well as adequate personal protection equipment [PPE], are in place and that any incidences of Covid-19 are responded to appropriately.

“As we have received no response to our request, we have made contact with the HSA and have asked it to carry out a detailed inspection of the plant to ensure that Liffey Meats is in compliance with the procedures required to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus,” the statement concludes.

‘Grossly inaccurate’

Yesterday evening, Liffey Meats issued a firm response to a post on social media that claimed staff at the Ballyjamesduff plant had Covid-19 symptoms.

In a statement, the processor said claims “that 160 employees of the plant are symptomatic of coronavirus” were “grossly inaccurate and false”.

A spokesperson for Liffey Meats said: “The health and wellbeing of our employees and everyone entering our plants is our priority. We are very supportive of all measures that have been put in place by the Irish Government and health authorities in order to minimise the spread of this virus.

“We have an experienced Covid-19 dedicated team, who have been fully engaged with the HSE [Health Service Executive] from the start, coordinating our response at our plants,” the spokesperson concluded.

The spokesperson has been contacted by AgriLand for a response from Liffey Meats on today’s SIPTU/MRCI statement.