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Sinn Féin seeks establishment of bio-refinery plant in the South East

14 November, 2013 - by Martin Ferris TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture and Fisheries Martin Ferris has reiterated his party’s call for the establishment of a bio-refinery plant in the southeast, which would produce sugar as well as ethanol from beet and grain.
Deputy Ferris said:
“We opposed the closing down of the Irish sugar industry for speculative purposes, which it now transpires was opposed, not encouraged by the EU which supported its revival based on the production of beet for use as ethanol. This would be possible once the quota system ends in 2015.

“The Irish sugar industry should never have been destroyed and should not have been privatised in the first place. Its new owners, Greencore walked away with over €90,000,000 in compensation as it tried to jump on the celtic tiger bandwagon and build apartments and shops, for which Carlow had no need and which never came to pass.

“While Greencore decided to leave the sugar industry and concentrate on making sandwiches, the people of Carlow and Mallow lost out.

“If Ireland re-enters the market there are several options. We could grow and process beet for sugar, or for input into bio fuels, or both. There is huge potential for farmers growing beet, for hauliers, for all the indirect employment which a sugar factory brings to an area.

“Does the minister believe there is potential in the bio-fuels sector?

“Does the minister have a vision based on the report undertaken by the Irish Sugar Beet Bio-Refinery Group in 2011, which estimated a cost of €350 million for the project at construction stage?

“Would the state consider re-establishing an entity similar to Irish Sugar, perhaps even in co-operation with the proposed New Era public company in the energy sector as proposed in the Programme for Government.”

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