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Ferris - Case for conversion of sugar factory strengthens

11 August, 2006

The Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD, has said that there is a growing body of opinion in favour of converting the Mallow sugar factory to the processing of sugar beet for the production of bio-ethanol. The Kerry TD has said that he has listened to and read many compelling arguments explaining why the existing facilities should be re-deployed rather than destroyed and the sites used by Greencore for property development.

Deputy Ferris said, "When I first proposed that the Carlow and Mallow plants be re-deployed in this manner I was actually accused by certain people of supporting the destruction of the Irish sugar industry. I did so at a time when it was clear that Greencore, with the connivance of the Government, were not going to be swayed from acquiescing in the EU's plans to do away with the Irish sugar sector, and as an alternative use for both the beet inputs, the factories and the hundreds of workers who were made redundant as part of Greencore's asset-stripping.

"I am pleased to note that more and more people are coming to share the view that bio-ethanol production is the way forward. If we do not quickly create the basis for an indigenous bio fuels sector -- in which we could establish a clear advantage -- then we will be forced to meet EU targets through imports. This Government, therefore, has a clear duty in the national interest and in the interest of the former sugar factory workers and beet farmers, to take a stand, on the basis of its so-called 'Golden Share' in Greencore, and ensure that Mallow is preserved as a viable economic asset rather than another golden apple for the golden circle that has collaborated in the destruction of one of our most successful industries." ENDS

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