Calls have been made for the appointment of a new Minister for Agriculture immediately, following further Covid-19 outbreaks in meat plants.
With 22 cases of Covid-19 confirmed at an ABP meat plant in Cahir, and further cases at a plant in Clones, Labour spokesperson on Agriculture and the Marine, Seán Sherlock said it was essential that the Dáil be recalled this week and a new Minister appointed.
The Cork East TD said: “Since the resignation of Dara Calleary last Friday the Labour Party has called for the quick appointment of a new Minister for Agriculture and the Marine by having the Dáil return this week. A new Minister is needed to restore confidence to farming communities.
“The confirmation of further cases at the ABP meat factory in Cahir confirms our view.
"ABP have confirmed that 22 people there tested positive inclusive of nine who had tested positive up to last Thursday. This is following the screening of 460 staff there. There is a further 16 cases who were close contacts," he added.
A further two Covid-19 cases were also confirmed at the ABP plant in Clones, along with four more at Rosderra Irish Meats in Clara, Offaly.
Deputy Sherlock said this makes it clear that there are issues that need to be addressed in the industry, and why a Minister is needed immediately.
“The country no longer has a standalone Minister for Agriculture and the issues surrounding the work practices in meat processing plants are of concern to the entire nation, not to mention the very real risk of a crash out Brexit still looming.
"The Taoiseach has multiple issues to address, and a new Minister is needed," he concluded.