Ferris supports revival of sugar beet industry
Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Agriculture, Martin Ferris has voiced his support for the revival of the Irish sugar industry which was closed down by Greencore in 2006. Deputy Ferris claimed that such a development would have the potential to create 5,000 jobs in processing beet as sugar or as an input into the production of bio fuels.
Deputy Ferris said: “The Irish sugar industry was closed down on spurious, and perhaps even dishonest grounds in 2006.
“At the time, Greencore supported by the then Minister Mary Coughlan, claimed that the EU was forcing it to close down whereas the European Court of Auditors subsequently dismissed that claim. The choice was theirs.
“What appears to have happened was that Greencore decided to use the sugar factory sites in order to enter the property market. It was a terrible decision at a bad time and at the expense of hundreds of jobs.”
Ferris asked Minister Simon Coveney if there was a possibility of the sector being revived after the current quota system comes to an end in 2015.
The Minister was not confident regarding the prospects because of opposition from states which currently have quota, but said that he would be arguing either for an end to quota, or for Ireland to be allocated quota in a new allocation.