Oireachtas committee to discuss meat plant situation tomorrow

The situation in meat processing plants will be the first topic for discussion when the Special Committee on Covid-19 Response meets tomorrow, Thursday, August 13, in Leinster House.

Three separate sessions are scheduled, commencing at 10:00am.

The situation in meat processing plants will be discussed at 10:00am, followed by an examination of the state’s response to the recent spike in coronavirus cases, and finally, the implications of a “Zero-Covid” island policy.

Five organisations are due before the committee to discuss meat processing plants: the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; the Health and Safety Authority; Meat Industry Ireland (MII); and representatives from trade union bodies ICTU and SIPTU.

At 12:30pm, the Health Service Executive (HSE) has been invited to discuss the state’s response to the recent spike in coronavirus cases.

Prof. Anthony Staines, Prof. Carl Heneghan and Dan O’Brien will discuss the implications of a Zero-Covid island policy during a third session from 3:00pm.

Speaking in advance of the meeting, committee chairman Michael McNamara said:

“The committee has been monitoring the ongoing situation regarding meat processing plants, and primarily the impact on those who work in the plants, and of course the wider community, and we look forward to the opportunity of engaging further on this matter from tomorrow morning.

The people of counties Kildare, Laois and Offaly have clearly been impacted in a major way since last Friday night, and an update on measures from relevant stakeholders including five key national organisations is most welcome as the committee assesses the most up-to-date information.

“The reality of the recent spike in coronavirus cases will be further discussed in later sessions throughout the day, with the discussion around the Zero-Covid island policy another timely opportunity for the committee to discuss this most serious matter.”

The witnesses will appear in the Dáil chamber and by video link from Committee Room 1.