‘Government must support the return of the sugar beet industry’

Calls have been made for the government to support the revitalisation of the sugar beet industry in Ireland by Martin Ferris, Sinn Féin’s agriculture spokesman.

Ferris said he is encouraged by recent indications that there is a prospect of the sugar industry being revitalised in the Carlow-Kildare region.

He said indications are that the industry could be re-started for €300 million.

Ferris conceded that it would be a ‘huge’ undertaking, but, he said the first steps have been taken and should be encouraged.

The revitalisation of sugar beet would be a huge benefit to those farmers and others in the Carlow and Mallow areas who were devastated when the Fianna Fáil government sold it out and the current government sat on its hands ever since.

According to Ferris any attempt to restart a sugar beet industry in Ireland needs and must have the political and financial support of the government and all parties in the Dáil.

He said Sinn Féin is totally supportive any move towards revitalisation and has been since the closure of the sugar plants in Carlow and Mallow.

EU sugar quotas are expiring at the end of September 2017.

Beet Ireland launched its first public fundraise for €6m at the National Ploughing Championships in Co Laois last year.

The fundraise is the next step on the road to developing a new sugar and bioethanol industry for Ireland, it said.

“2017 is now the target date for processing sugar beet following the finalisation of the EU CAP Agreement last July and this policy change has enabled the business planning for the project to continue within a clear timeframe.”

Beet Ireland has been working with Cantor Fitzgerald to plan the financing of this major strategic infrastructural project for Ireland, which it says will cost in the order of €400m.

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