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Ferris raises concerns over the future of sugar beet

2 November, 2004

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture Martin Ferris TD attempted to have Dáil business suspended this afternoon in order to discuss the threat to the Sugar Beet industry on foot of proposals from the EU Commission and the World Trade Organisation. The EU proposals include price cuts and a reduction in quota which farmers claim will make beet an uneconomic sector. Sugar will also be a major area in which the WTO will seek changes in market access for non-EU producers with significant knock on effects on the Irish industry which is worth €140m each year.

Deputy Ferris said: "It is important that the Irish Government takes a firm stand over these issues. Apart from almost 3,700 farmers dependent on beet, there are 500 directly involved in the processing factories and thousands of others whose jobs depend in one way or another on the sector. I hope that Minister Coughlan will take these concerns on board and puts up a strong fight at EU level to ensure that the Irish sugar beet industry is not sacrificed as part of some trade off at Commission level." ENDS

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