Ba mhaith liom ceist na monarchana feola a ardú leis an Tánaiste. Tá imní mhór ann anois faoi na figiúirí sna monarchana seo. Tá na gnáth-oibrithe ag fulaingt. Tá an cuma air go bhfuil brabús níos tábhachtaí ná an baol sláinte agus beatha na n-oibrithe seo. Tá an dearcadh ann nach bhfuil an Rialtas ag déanamh a dhícheall ná go leor le déileáil leis seo.
Instances of Covid-19 are, regrettably, on the rise. The situation in Dublin is profound and, no doubt, we will have the opportunity to discuss this further throughout the course of the day. Underpinning our response to dealing with the virus must be a proper testing and tracing system. We in Sinn Féin have been raising this issue consistently because it is central to how we handle the situation.
Another issue we have been raising is meat plants and I raise it again today. Meat plants have been the site of at least 44 clusters throughout the State and at least 1,600 cases of Covid-19. They were the principal reason for the localised lockdowns in Kildare, Laois and Offaly. From a freedom of information response to Hannah Quinn-Mulligan of the Irish Farmers' Journal, we know there were 226 cases associated with one plant in July. We understand that plant is in Cork and that it was never closed down. Yet last week, testing in meat plants was suspended. Yesterday, we learned of another outbreak in a meat plant in Waterford and this is causing huge concern. At least 28 cases are associated with this cluster, more tests are pending and hopefully the HSE's infection control team are on the ground. Perhaps the Tánaiste will let me know if that is the case. Local media in Waterford reported that earlier this week, workers from the plant were being bused to work on a packed 50-seater bus. Every seat was full, it was standing room only and people were standing in the aisles. At that time, there were already cases confirmed in that plant. That is shocking. The meat barons are playing with people's lives in the interests of profit, plain and simple, and they are getting away with it. Why? What hold do the meat barons have over Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil?
This should be contrasted with how they are treating pubs. There were 6,800 inspections of pubs over one weekend, yet there have only ever been five clusters associated with pubs, according to the figures released last night. Outbreaks in meat plants have accounted for one third of all workplace clusters. The situation in Waterford has been going on for a number of weeks but it was only confirmed that this was happening yesterday. That is not good enough. This situation is replicated throughout the State. Before he assumed office, the current Taoiseach called for greater transparency regarding where clusters were happening. Will the Tánaiste accept that the HSE should now publish the details of clusters in businesses in public settings? Having to rely on the rumour mill is not good enough. Communities deserve clarity and transparency. They deserve better.
Why are the meat plants getting away with this? Why are workers being crammed into buses? Why was a plant with 226 associated cases not shut down? How many meat plants have had serial testing carried out this week? Will the Tánaiste publish the information of where clusters are in relation to public settings?