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30/39 Inspections Of Meat Factories Were Announced To Owners In Advance

It's been revealed by the HSA at the Oireachtas Covid Committee.

The Oireachtas Covid Committee's heard meat factory employees walk a tightrope every day, and go to work even if they're sick. 

Unions representing workers say they're "petrified" of contracting the virus, and the industry contains "unrivalled vectors" for transmitting Covid-19.

The Oireachtas meeting discussing increasing cases in processing plants is hearing from Meat Industry Ireland and the Health and Safety Authority this afternoon. 

This morning was the turn of unions to highlight their concerns. 

Nora Labo of the Independent Workers’ Union says there's no reason for workers to be at such a high risk of contracting coronavirus: 

Siptu's Greg Ennis says workers are terrified of becoming infected:

ICTU's Patricia King claims the Health and Safety Authority should be doing more unannounced inspections: 

SIPTU told the committee up to 40 migrant meat plant workers sharing accommodation in Offaly.

The unions claim nine out of ten workers do not have access to sick pay and this was a significant contributory factor to the spread of Covid-19.

Meanwhile,

It's emerged 30 out of 39 recent inspections of meat plants were announced to factory owners in advance.

The Health and Safety Authority says it informed management either the evening before, or the morning of a planned visit. 

The authority says it's undertaken 39 inspections with the national outbreak control team.

Chief executive Sharon McGuinness says they had to give some factories notice to make sure they could meet with management: 

Ms. McGuinness told Sinn Féin's David Cullinane they've since returned for unannounced inspections at some plants: 

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