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Ferris supports call to save Carlow sugar factory

25 January, 2005

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD, has added his voice to those protesting today against the decision to close the Carlow sugar factory, and for that decision to be reversed. Deputy Ferris claimed that the decision taken by Greencore on January 12 represents the first step in what may lead to the end of the Irish sugar industry under pressure from the EU as part of changes within the WTO.

Deputy Ferris said: "It will be an absolute scandal if one of the most successful public enterprises in the history of this state is allowed to be closed down. Not only will it mean that hundreds of workers lose their jobs and thousands of farmers their main source of income, but it will also deliver a major body blow to the food processing industry in this country.

"While I recognise that sugar producers in developing countries are entitled to access to EU markets, this must not be at the expense of Irish jobs and Irish farmers. The Minister for Agriculture needs to fight to ensure that the Irish sugar industry does not become the sacrificial lamb in a deal that will also benefit European agri-business. She must also look more closely at the possibilities of using beet as part of the production of renewable fuels although in her reply to a Dáil question of mine of November 30 she stated that sugar beet is specifically excluded from crops eligible for support under the energy crops scheme. That must also be reversed as part of the effort to save the Irish sugar industry".

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