An appeal was issued three months ago to the HSE to immediately convene its multi-agency group on the meat industry to address flaws in the Covid protection measures and to make recommendations to the National Public Health Emergency Team.
The appeal was issued by Independent Deputy Denis Naughten who warned that failures in the testing system had resulted in new infection clusters in communities across the country which up to then had low levels of Covid-19 infection. “If these fundamental issues are not addressed immediately, in advance of the easing of the lockdown next Monday, then we could very quickly be looking at a second spike in Covid-19 infections,” he warned then.
This morning Deputy Naughten said: “Three months ago, I persistently highlighted the problem in our meat plants…. sadly, for the people of Offaly, Laois & Kildare, I was not listened to at the time.” Following outbreaks in Laois, Offaly and Kildare new restrictions were imposed on those three counties, which came into effect at midnight last night and last for two weeks.
“After such heroic efforts by every citizen in the State to stop the spread of this virus we cannot allow a second wave of infection under any circumstances. So while we must remain cautious in how we relax restrictions, we must also learn to live with Covid-19 which will be with us for a considerable time to come,” said Deputy Naughten at the time.
He claimed then there had been numerous reports of staff who were tested for Covid-19 going back to work in meat plants before they received their results, due to delays in lab results when clearly there was a problem with infection in the meat plants concerned. “In such instances negative results are worthless, as due to the delays in receiving results the staff could have been infected by other staff who were positive but showing no signs of infection (asymptomatic) in the intervening period.”
3 months ago, I persistently highlighted the problem in our meat plants…. sadly, for the people of Offaly, Laois & Kildare, I was not listened to at the time!
Posted by Denis Naughten on Saturday, August 8, 2020