Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has called for much stronger prevention and control measures for high risk workplaces, in light of the announcement of regional lockdown implementation. He also said that HSA inspections and testing needs to be stepped up.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“The outbreaks in Kildare, Offaly and Laois show that much stronger and more robust prevention and containment measures are needed to stop the spread of Covid-19.
“Regular inspections by the HSA and rolling testing in high risk workplaces, congregated settings, and workplaces where cases have been recorded are needed.
“Up to early July there had been no on site inspections in meat factories.
“How many have been conducted since? What was reported? Has rolling testing been put in place? Are we doing enough to prevent and contain outbreaks in high risk areas?
“We also need to make sure that creches, schools, and shops are safe for workers and families. We cannot afford an outbreak in these areas.
“Sinn Féin has been calling for months for more inspectors and more inspections. It needs to be demonstrated that everything that can be done is being done.
“If we don’t contain the virus in these settings, there is a very high risk of overspill into the community as NPHET has warned. This is very concerning as it would lead to wider restrictions, and we need to be moving in the other direction.
“We need very robust enforcement of the back to work protocol and more inspectors on the ground in high risk areas.
“There needs to be rolling testing in all food factories and any workplace there is a high risk of transfer. These are hotbeds for the virus.
“We have been here before and warned that aggressive testing and tracing was needed. If we fail to do that we will see more spikes
“This is a blow for businesses in these counties. We need to be putting in place bespoke support measures for the local economies of locked-down counties. This could come in the form of grants as my colleagues Louise O’Reilly and Pearse Doherty have advocated for.”