ONE meat plant in Cork had 226 confirmed cases of Covid-19 among its staff in recent months, it has been claimed in the Dáil.
Sinn Féin's Deputy Pearse Doherty raised concerns about meat plants remaining open when there are large clusters.
He told the Dail that there have been 44 clusters in meat plants across the State, with at least 1,600 confirmed cases of the virus.
Citing a Freedom of Information response by a journalist for the Irish Farmers Journal, Deputy Doherty said: "We now know that there were 226 cases associated with one plant back in July. We understand that that plant was in Cork and that the plant was never closed down. 226 positive cases. Yet last week, testing in meat plants was suspended.
Yesterday, we learned of another outbreak in a meat plant in Waterford."
The Cork plant was not identified.
The Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar, said testing at meat plants has commenced again this week.
Fine Gael's Seanad agriculture spokesman Tim Lombard is calling on the meat industry to have a policy "where they publish how many cases are in an actual plant".
He added: "At the moment, we are living on rumours which is not good for the meat industry or for the public."