Carroll Cuisine has announced it is to suspend its Tullamore plant operations until an evaluation of test results is completed.
Commenting on the decision, Carroll Cuisine CEO Kieran Carolan said: “The health, safety and wellbeing of all our people and our wider communities is an absolute priority for us at all times.
“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 [Sunday].”
A total of nine employees from Carroll Cuisine's 330-strong workforce have had positive tests for COVID-19 to date, independent testing has shown.
Carroll Cuisine has welcomed proposals for a 14-day recurring testing programme for the meat sector, proposed to help monitor, suppress and prevent the virus, when the plant reopens following the precautionary measures.
The processor has also said 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.
Pay as normal
Carolan said: “Our employees will continue to be paid as normal; we believe this temporary suspension of operations is the best course of action at this time.”
The first case of COVID-19 recorded among the workforce arose on 31 July.