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Sinn Féin MEP supports aid for restructuring the sugar sector

19 January, 2006

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún voted today in support of a report which advocates measures to aid the restructuring of the sugar sector. Today's vote in the European Parliament examined MEP Jean-Claude Fruteau's proposal for 'establishing a temporary scheme for the restructuring of the sugar industry in the European Community'.

Speaking from Strasbourg Ms de Brún said:

"We have already witnessed the closure of a sugar factory in Carlow and a facility in Mallow is also under threat. Indeed the sugar beet sector is being destroyed in Ireland.

"I am anxious that there should be measures to help the sector and in particular producers in the sector. I therefore supported the recommendation that 50% of the compensation will go directly to the farmer who has invested heavily in plant and machinery, over and above the wealthy processors, although this proposal was rejected in the parliament today. In the absence of this measure, I would ask the Irish government to make use of the flexibility in the Commission proposal that allows for member states to give more than the minimum threshold of 10% to the farmers.

"One of the main positive points of this proposal will provide compensation in restructuring which can be used for retooling 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 continuing to producing crops for this bio fuels market.

"Some 6000 jobs in rural France are derived from bio fuels production and in a similar way Ireland can provide a high numbers of jobs. Restructuring the sector will ensure that the whole island can benefit." ENDS

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