Offaly meat processor gives in to pressure to suspend operations
An Offaly factory with a small number of confirmed Covid-19 cases will suspend operations to support measures by the public health services to prevent the spread of Coronavirus in the community.
Carroll Cuisine had nine confirmed cases out of a workforce of 330 and completed independent testing of staff last week.
They made their decision this Monday afternoon August 10 after public pressure, including a call today on national radio by Minister of State for Laois/Offaly Sean Fleming TD.
The first case recorded among the workforce arose after a staff member consulted their GP and subsequently tested positive on July 31. That staff member had previously self-isolated before receiving the result. On being informed of the positive test and in line with its advance contingency planning, the company immediately tested all staff, using an independent laboratory service.
The full statement released by Kieran Carolan, Chief Executive of Carroll Cuisine, this afternoon states:
“The health, safety and wellbeing of all our people and our wider communities is an absolute priority for us at all times.”
“We have been working closely and co-operatively with the HSE and, while positive case levels among our staff are low, we believe that the best approach is to take this break in operations over the days ahead until we can evaluate the results of comprehensive tests which were undertaken for our staff on a precautionary basis yesterday in co-operation with the HSE.
“Through the independent testing that we also conducted and completed last week, a total of 9 employees from our workforce of 330 (2.43%) to date have had positive tests for COVID-19 and are self-isolating.
“We note that a number of Government and health service sources have said factories should close wherever there are any cases of Covid. However, it’s essential that while closures may be envisaged, the industry will need to continue in operation to supply food and facilities will need to reopen once any particular situation is contained and brought under control. Clear guidance is required on the measures, procedures and roadmap envisaged by the Government in this regard.
“We welcome proposals by the Minister for Agriculture for a 14 day recurring testing programme for the meat sector and we will participate fully in any such initiatives. This will help to monitor, suppress and prevent the virus, keep people safe and protect employment when we reopen in due course following the current precautionary measures.
“Our employees will continue to be paid as normal. We are very grateful to our staff for their excellent dedication and commitment and for the support and encouragement of our communities however we believe this temporary suspension of operations is the best course of action at this time.”