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Sinn Féin MEP welcomes aid for restructuring of sugar sector

21 February, 2006

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today welcomed plans to aid the restructuring of the sugar industry across the EU and said that "diversification of the sugar industry will ensure the longer term survival of the sector in Ireland."

Ms de Brún made her comments after agriculture ministers adopted proposals to restructure the sugar sector, including compensation for farmers and the opportunity for the Sugar Factories to re-tool and diversify their operations.

Speaking today Ms de Brún said:

"Earlier this year I voted in support of a report which advocates measures to aid the restructuring of the sugar sector at the European Parliament. I am pleased that EU agriculture ministers have formally agreed to aid the reform of the EU sugar sector today.

"The Irish sugar industry is under threat and a number of factories in Ireland have either closed or remain in precarious positions.

"One of the main positive points of this proposal will provide compensation for restructuring the sector which would allow for the retooling of factories to enable them to process sugar for bio-ethanol and bio-alcohol. This will assist countries such as Ireland who are way behind in their Kyoto protocol commitments and will also allow for many jobs to be retained in processing, with the farming community producing crops for this bio fuels market.

"Diversification of this industry will ensure the longer term survival of the sector in Ireland. In addition, a switch to the bio-fuels market will allow us to move away from our over-reliance on fossil fuels and can provide new jobs in this area." ENDS

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