Dawn Meats still to decide on next week's plan after 4 staff contract Covid-19

Four employees at the Dawn Meats plant in Kilbeggan have tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus, the firm has confirmed.

As a result, production at the plant has been deferred.

“No decision has yet been taken with regards to deferring any scheduled activity next week,” the firm has stressed today.

The confirmation that there were four employees with positive tests came to the firm on Thursday, and management made the decision to defer yesterday’s production schedule.

As t happened, no production was scheduled for Friday or over the bank holiday weekend.

In its statement, Dawn Meats said it takes the health, safety and welfare of employees, suppliers, contractors and visitors extremely seriously.

“We have implemented a detailed series of measures to manage risks associated with Covid-19, and to maintain social distancing in our facilities in line with procedures recommended by the HSE and other Government agencies.”

The firm went on to say that the cases reflected less than 2% of staff at the plant, however the decision was taken out of “an abundance of caution” while the situation is reviewed.

“The decision will have no impact on our ability to supply customers or receive cattle from farmers throughout our network of plants in the country,” the statement concluded.

Westmeath IFA chairperson, Bernie MacCarthy said the plant had done the right thing, in putting its staff’s health first.

She added too that if there were to be widespread outbreaks of Covid-19 among staff at processing plants, this would obviously impact on farmers:

“As you know the majority of our beef is exported to the UK so that would be a huge issue if that process stopped,” she said.