Deering calls on Greencore to donate €2.1 million EU rebate towards restoration of Irish sugar industry

26th September, 2013

 

Fine Gael TD for Carlow/Kilkenny and Member of the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee, Pat Deering, has today (Thursday) called on the Greencore Group to donate over €2 million which it is due to receive from the EU and the Government to help restore Ireland’s sugar beet industry. As a result of a revision of sugar production levies, Greencore is due to receive €2.17 million plus interest from the EU and the Irish State. Deputy Deering has argued that it would be appropriate for Greencore to provide the money towards the restoration of the Irish sugar beet industry.

“€2.17 million is a drop in the ocean compared to the €127 million

Greencore received in compensation when the sugar beet industry was wrongly closed down in 2006. Yet this money would go a long way towards funding the €6 million that Beet Ireland require for the planning stages of the factory it intends to develop in order to start processing sugar in Ireland again.

“I made this suggestion in the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee this week and I will be writing to Greencore with this proposal.

A gesture of this nature from Greencore would be very well received by the Irish agricultural community. I believe it would also be of significant practical assistance for the campaign to restore the Irish sugar beet industry.

 

“Beet Ireland launched an initiative for funding for this new factory at the National Ploughing Championships this week. They estimate that it will cost €400 million to build the factory and create the conditions for the processing and sale of sugar and will be seeking investors domestically and internationally.

“Sugar beet quotas are expected to be abolished between 2017 and 2020, clearing the way for countries like Ireland to re-enter the sector. Significant credit is due to the Minister for Agriculture, Simon CoveneyTD, for this development. Minister Coveney also said that once the industry is viable the State will support the industry insofar as is possible.

“Over the last 18 months, Beet Ireland carried out a feasibility study for the establishment of a sugar beet factory. They have looked at a number of sites and are expected to announce a location for the factory in the next six to eight weeks. It will be based on a similar factory in England which is built on 150 acres.

“It is widely felt that the closure of the sugar beet industry was not in the best interest of Irish famers.  .

A report by the European Court of Auditors in 2010 found the closure of the factory had been needless because the business was profitable at the time. We need to do all we can to get our sugar beet industry up and running again. I am calling on Greencore to play its part.”