There will be a serial testing programme for COVID-19 introduced in meat plants, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin has confirmed.

Speaking after a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning, the Taoiseach said the testing regime will operate in a similar way to what occurred in nursing homes over the last two months.

It will consist of weekly testing for meat plant workers in the three counties under local lockdown, Laois, Kildare and Offaly first. It will then be extended nationwide before being reduced to fortnightly tests.

The Taoiseach said the programme would help identify, isolate, and deal with any outbreak of coronavirus in meat factories.


It comes after outbreaks in three processing facilities and one slaughter plant led to a spike in cases in the three midlands counties. The four plants in question, Kildare Chilling, Carroll’s Cuisine, Irish Dog Foods, and O’Brien’s Fine Foods, have all since temporarily closed.

During the Cabinet meeting, which lasted over two hours, the acting chief medical officer Ronan Glynn provided an update on prevelance of the virus nationwide and in the three counties.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly also outlined the plans to introduce the serial testing programme following discussions between meat industry representatives, public health officials and trade unions earlier this week.

Read more

Calls for factory closures must be met with ‘appropriate response’

COVID-19: meat factory on last warning from HSE

Regular testing regime to be put in place at meat factories