A meat processing plant in Co Wexford has confirmed 42 positive Covid-19 cases following screening of staff.

Slaney Foods in Bunclody said this evening it is operating at a "significantly reduced capacity" as a result of the outbreak.

"In line with Covid-19 protocols, all close contacts of those impacted are currently self-isolating," the company told RTÉ News in a statement.

The cases were detected following testing of staff last Friday.

The company said: "Staff safety and public health is our priority and Slaney Foods will continue to work with the HSE in relation to the matter."

Slaney Foods is a long-established beef processing operator and a significant employer in north Wexford.

This evening it said that, since the arrival of Covid-19 in this country, it has introduced "a range of industry-leading protection measures as part of an industry-wide initiative".

These measures include limiting site access to essential personnel, temperature checks at the entry to the site, staggered break times, perspex partitions where appropriate, social distancing measures in canteens and all other communal spaces as well as detailed protocols for colleagues who display any symptoms.

"We are continually evolving and improving the measures to ensure safety at all our sites."

Asked if any of the cases were associated with travel, a spokesperson for ABP,  co-owners of the Bunclody plant, said they do not comment on specific details but added: "In line with national guidelines we have in place strict foreign travel protocols for all staff regardless of their nationality.

"Any staff member who has travelled abroad must undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine before returning to work and during that time they must undergo two PCR Covid-19 tests at appropriate intervals."

Wexford yesterday had 86 confirmed new cases of Covid-19, the third-highest number of cases of any county.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said that the outbreak at Slaney Foods should be investigated "as a matter of urgency".