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Sinn Féin urges Minister to retain sugar industry for bio-fuel production

25 July, 2006


Sinn Féin Agriculture spokesperson Martin Ferris TD has reiterated his call on the government to retain the sugar plants at Carlow and Mallow and to use them for the production of ethanol for bio-fuel. Deputy Ferris was speaking today after the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources Noel Dempsey launched a scheme that will see the government forego €200 million in excise duties over the next five years in a bid to encourage the use of bio-fuels. He said if the Irish Government were serious about a bio-fuel programme than they would seriously consider Sinn Féin's proposals for the retention of an Irish sugar beet industry beet industry for the production of ethanol as a bio-fuel.

He said, "While this scheme is welcome, it is just a drop in the ocean. It will bring the use bio-fuels up to 2.2 percent of the entire fuel market. However, there is a European requirement that bio fuel replaces 5.75% of petrol imports by 2010. This provides a real opportunity for Irish beet growers.

"This month I set out proposals for the retention of the Irish sugar beet industry for the production of ethanol as a bio-fuel. If the Government are serious about a bio-fuel programme then they would take these proposals into serious consideration. There is a dual advantage in keeping an Irish sugar beet industry -- the sugar beet growers and the staff at the sugar plants get to keep their jobs and the industry makes a substantial contribution to Ireland's bio-fuel requirements. This approach is simple common sense and I would again urge Minister Dempsey to take a look at our proposals and to retain the Irish sugar beet industry for the production of ethanol as a bio-fuel." ENDS

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