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Irish health authorities gave meat plants advance notice of COVID-19 inspections

Ireland’s HSA gave advance notice of standards checks to meat plants, but Meat Industry Ireland leader denies pressuring safety body.

13 July 2020, at 9:32am

According to reporting in The Irish Times, a parliamentary committee has learned that the Health Safety Authority (HSA) gave advance notice to meat processing plants before making COVID-19 inspections and checking standards.

Speaking of the move, Phillip Carroll, the chief executive of Meat Industry Ireland said that it, “was the decision of the HSA and was in no circumstances influenced by any pressure that we may have put on it, which we did not.”

Carroll believes that warnings were given because the HSA wanted to minimise the risk of spreading the novel coronavirus. “In essence, the HSA decided that it was better to notify plants that it was coming rather than to appear on their doorsteps.”

Other groups were highly critical of the move, however. The Migrant Rights Centre of Ireland said that it, “cannot be overestimated how important unannounced inspections are.”

Edel McGinley, director of the Migrant Rights Centre said:

“Announced inspections gives time for people to hide things, get workers out of the way, give troublemakers the day off. Workers need to be talked to and that takes time.”

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Read more about this story in The Irish Times.