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Friday, November 12, 2010


Fine Gael’s Dr. Twomey wants Fianna Fail and its Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to explain why Ireland’s sugar beet industry was closed down, when the European Commission did not have the correct information. “According to the European Court of Auditor’s Report, when the Commission made it s proposal on sugar reform in 2005, they were unaware of Greencore's rationalisation /restructuring that had taken place leaving it with just one factory in Mallow.”

“The sugar beet industry was extremely important for Wexford farmers. When Greencore closed its factory in 2006 it ended eighty years of beet and sugar production in Ireland and affected 3,700 growers in Wexford and throughout the south east and southern areas of the country as well as the staff in Mallow and associated industries around the country. “

“The government have a number of questions to answer. It was up to the then Minister of Agriculture Mary Coughlan to give the Commission the correct information and defend the beet farmers and the sugar industry in Ireland. Fianna Fail are always saying that the smart economy is the way forward for Ireland but did they consider at the time that sugar can be used as a source of bioethanol or that sugar is also used by other chemical industries?”

“During the Celtic Tiger, Fianna Fail neglected Irish industry and agriculture in favour of construction with the result that Ireland is now importing €99 million worth of sugar annually into the country. According to Iarnrod Eireann, the loss of the sugar beet industry was also a cause of the railway line closure between Waterford and Rosslare, earlier this year.”

“Our agri-food industry produces exports worth €8 billion annually and provides 250,000 jobs throughout the country; therefore it is very important for the future of this country. For this reason, Fine Gael believes it is essential to make a strong case for Ireland to ensure good support from the EU will continue to be received under the Common Agricultural Policy, which is up for reform in 2013. Agriculture is an indigenous and well organised industry that continues to offer increased potential for Ireland. Fine Gael will do its best to protect Irish farmers unlike Fianna Fail with the sugar beet farmers in 2005.”

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