Dáil debates

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Outbreaks of Covid-19 in Meat Processing Plants: Statements

 

Richard O'Donoghue (Limerick County, Independent)

The Minister will wait until I am finished. I asked her for help because I had information that would help her to help others but she believed she was above everyone and did not even acknowledge us.

Limerick has stood up to the test and has offered help around this country. I had to contact Ministers to tell them there was a company in Limerick making masks that was exporting to Germany. They did not even know they had this within their grasp. Now the company is producing masks for the HSE, and many staff in the HSE will now not wear any other mask because of the inferior material in the masks from elsewhere. The Ministers never looked to home first; they looked to foreign shores because they did not know what they had themselves.

There is a wonderful international company in west Limerick that helps the likes of the beef sector, on which everyone, including the farmers, is so dependent. In this regard, I contacted the Ministers again, yet I got no call back.

This product screens people when they walk up to a door. It is an Irish product. It screens them and tells them their temperature, and the door will not open if their temperature is too high, so they are not welcome if they are sick. This is a product an Irish company has and yet again, it has not been picked up on. I have brought it to the attention of the House again. I mentioned it to the Minister for Health today. In fairness to him, I cannot say enough of the help he has given to me and others and the information he has come back with; he was not too busy.

No aid has been given to the farmers. Livestock is selling at €100 less per head due to Covid. Farmers got hit for another €100 due to Brexit. Prior to the pandemic, cattle were selling at €3.70 per kilogram and rising. Now they are selling at €3.40 per kilogram. Overall, there has been a reduction of 80 cent per kilogram over the past two years. Who can suffer these reductions? Yes, steaks are selling to the public. Steak makes up 10% of the quantity of the animal but 30% of its value. Farmers can only claim the Covid-19 payment if they cease trading. Is that not comical? Something better than that would be expected in order to support our farmers. What can the Minister do for the farmers?

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