Sugar production could return to Ireland

Fine Gael Cork East TD, Tom Barry, has today said the EU decision to
dismantle sugar quotas could herald the return of sugar production to
Ireland by 2017. Deputy Barry was speaking after EU negotiators agreed
to abolish the system of sugar production quotas from October 2017 as
part of wider reforms to the CAP.

“This is a historic breakthrough for the Irish agricultural sector. I,
along with others, have fought tirelessly for a number of years to
reverse the decision to exclude Ireland from sugar production. The
abolition of sugar quotas now opens the door for sugar production once
again in Ireland and I am confident, when we secure a suitable site,
hopefully in Cork, that we will see sugar produced here again by 2017.

“I disagreed fundamentally with the previous CAP reforms which saw
countries like Ireland, who were competitively producing sugar, exit
production. We sacrificed indigenous production where people made a
living as they had done for the previous 100 years under the guise of
misguided economic wisdom.

“The successful return of the sugar industry to Ireland would be a
real coup for our agricultural sector. Not only would the return of
the industry create hundreds of direct jobs, it could also lead to
significant bio-ethanol production and would allow for the production
of feed products from the by-products of the beet. In essence, this
means the return of sugar production would generate three industries
here; sugar production and processing, feed production and ethanol
production. This is just the kind of additional kick-start the Irish
economy needs.

“I would like to pay tribute to the Minister for Agriculture, Simon
Coveney TD, and his team of negotiators, who have been working so hard
to secure a CAP deal. At all times they understood our concerns with
regards to sugar, and they refused to sacrifice the industry in
difficult negotiations.”

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