Mallow racecourse turned into test centre
CLOSED on Tuesday as part of a raft of government measures, by Wednesday Cork Racecourse Mallow was being turned into a testing centre for COVID-19.
Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) chairman Nicky Hartery confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that preparations had gotten underway ahead of the planned opening of a test centre at the Cork Racecourse today
It is understood the centre is being opened in response to the unprecedented level of demand for tests in Cork.
“All staff involved are working tirelessly every day to manage this demand and to prepare for increased demand in the future. We are working hard to reach a point where we will be carrying out up to 2,000 tests a day across Cork and Kerry,” said a HSE spokesperson.
GERMAN automotive component manufacturer Kostal has temporarily closed its Mallow and Abbeyfeale plants, which between them employ more than 1,000 people, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kostal Ireland currently has 1,038 employees, 345 at its Mallow plant and 693 at its Limerick plant. The firm has established itself as one of the largest employers in Munster - and the dominant employer in both the Mallow and Abbeyfeale areas.
In a brief statement the company, a leading supplier of electronic components to the European motor industry, said its the facilities had ceased operations from 8am on Wednesday and will remain closed until April 27 at the earliest.
The company said the decision to close was taken as a result of the impact the Coronavirus on their Irish operations and would be reviewed at the end of April “with resumption thereafter depending on developments with COVID-19”.
Amongst the products made by Kostal are components for the next-generation of plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles.
It is understood the decision to close its two Irish plants followed the widespread shutdown of major car production plants in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
“This is a most regrettable but necessary course of action under the circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic which has presented us with serious challenges in meeting public safety directives around social distancing, given the numbers of employees on site. The safety and welfare of our workforce is paramount,” read the statement.
“Our operations have also been impacted by COVID-19 in terms of supply chain and a decrease in demand for products across Europe. This closure is for an initial period up to April 27 and will be reviewed with resumption thereafter depending on developments with COVID-19,” it concluded.
It is hoped that, market conditions permitting, both plants will be able to resume operations from that date.
While a company spokesperson was unavailable for comment on the matter, a source said it was “a very challenging time” for the firm, its employees and their families.
The company source said that both the firm and its employees are “severely impacted because of this (virus) event.”