Protest takes place outside Leinster House amid Covid-19 response meeting

A number of protesters descended on Leinster House today, Friday, July 10, amid the meeting of the Oireachtas Special Committee on Covid-19 Response.

Discussions are resuming today at Leinster House on the prevalence of Covid-19 clusters in meat factories in Ireland, with two sessions dedicated in the afternoon to issues in the meat plant sector.

A group from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) arrived at the gates of the Oireachtas clad in hazmat suits, wanting to “remind people that the meat trade is harmful to workers, animals and public health”, according to PETA director Elisa Allen.

“Not only are meat processing plants and abattoirs places of death for animals, they also facilitate the spread of Covid-19 among workers,” Allen said.

Allen added that PETA are at the ready with “free vegan starter kits to empower people”.


Today’s proceedings at Leinster House

Today’s meeting will focus on the significant number of Covid-19 outbreaks, and infections to date, recorded in meat plants in Ireland.

In her opening address to the Oireachtas Covid-19 committee this afternoon, Migrant Rights Centre Ireland director Edel McGinley said that migrant workers were “worried, frightened and angry” about the conditions they had to work in, with a supposed lack of appropriate health and safety measures in place whilst they worked in close proximity of others for prolonged periods of time.

Also Read: Meat industry rep to appear before Covid-19 Oireachtas committee

Speaking before the meeting, committee chairman Michael McNamara said:

“Members of the committee want to explore the reasons such a high proportion of Covid-19 clusters occurred in meat plants and the improvements now in place to ensure a safe working environment for workers.”

Meat Industry Ireland (MII) senior director Cormac Healy will appear before the third meeting at 2.30pm.