Carlow-based Fine Gael TD Pat Deering has called on Greencore to hand over €2.1m in EU rebate towards restoration of Irish sugar beet industry.

The windfall comes as a result of a revision of sugar production levies, in addition to the €127m in compensation that the company received when the sugar industry closed down in 2006.

Deputy Deering has insisted it would be appropriate for Greencore to provide the money towards the restoration of the Irish sugar beet industry.

“€2.17m is a drop in the ocean compared to the €127m Greencore received in compensation when the sugar beet industry was wrongly closed down in 2006,” he said. “Yet this money would go a long way towards funding the €6m that Beet Ireland require for the planning stages of the factory it intends to develop in order to start processing sugar in Ireland again. I made this suggestion in the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee this week and I will be writing to Greencore with this proposal.

“A gesture of this nature from Greencore would be very well received by the Irish agricultural community. I believe it would also be of significant practical assistance for the campaign to restore the Irish sugar beet industry.”

Sugar beet quotas are expected to be abolished between 2017 and 2020, clearing the way for countries such as Ireland to re-enter the sector.

Beet Ireland launched an initiative for funding for a new sugar beet factory at the National Ploughing Championships last week. They estimate that it will cost €400m to build the factory and create the conditions for the processing and sale of sugar and will be seeking investors domestically and internationally.

Greencore was unavailable for comment this morning.