Meat processor Liffey Meats has issued a response to a post on social media that suggested staff at its plant at Ballyjamesduff in Co. Cavan 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.

“From the outset, our team has overseen the implementation of a full set of enhanced safety procedures across all of our plants, which also included adopting all the Government and HSE-recommended guidelines,” the processor asserted.

“These steps must be adhered to by everyone entering and leaving the plants, including all employees, suppliers and farmers. We are in ongoing contact with the HSE, who have confirmed that they are very satisfied with all the measures we have in place,” the Liffey Meats spokesperson argued.

Concluding, the spokesperson insisted: “We will continue to monitor the situation and do all we can to minimise the spread of this virus, including updating our guidelines as required, in order to protect our employees, their families and members of our wider community.”

Agriculture workers in receipt of €350/week payment

Separately, it was confirmed last week that the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has issued payments to 8,000 people working in the “agriculture, forestry and fishing, mining and quarrying” sector in respect of their application for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP).

As of Tuesday, April 21, this industrial grouping is the third lowest sector with people in receipt of the emergency payment for employees and the self-employed who have lost their income and are fully unemployed due to the pandemic.

The highest sector with people in receipt of PUPs is accommodation and food service activities (126,000), followed by wholesale and retail trade (88,400) and construction (77,400).