A public meeting is to be held about the possible restoration of the sugar beet industry in Ireland, in the Clannard Court Hotel Athy on Thursday February 10th 2011 at 8.00pm.Guest speaker on the night will be Eddie Hobbs.Cllr. Martin Heydon of Kildare County Council who will chair the meeting stated ‘This meeting will give an up to date account of the E.U. Commission’s response to an Irish Beet Growers meeting on January 25th in Brussels and plans to step up the campaign to ensure that all potential growers are included in a feasibility study that is presently being prepared.’
Speakers will include Eddie Hobbs Economist, Dr. Jimmy Burke Teagasc, Alan Navratil from Irish Biofuel Initiative, Michael Hoey from Country Crest. It will also include representatives from all sugar beet growing areas.
Cllr. Heydon has actively campaigned for Ireland to return to the production of sugar beet and for Kildare to be considered as the location for any new plant. “For the re establishment of the sugar beet industry in Ireland, the new factory would need to be centrally based with a good roads/rail infrastructure, which we have with the M9/M7, with Athy/Monasterevin being the obvious potential sites. The barrow would provide the water needed. The plant needs to be surrounded by quality farmland capable of growing sufficient quantities of beet and farmers who have the expertise to grow the crop, all of which we have in abundance,” Cllr. Heydon stated. A recent EU court of Auditors report admitted that the decision to close down the industry was based on out of date data. Speaking ahead of the meeting Cllr. Heydon said, ‘This will be a positive meeting that is of interest not only to farmers but also to consumers, haulers, machinery trade dealers and manufacturers, factory workers and the wider community. This is an opportunity to demonstrate the depth of feeling about reviving this Industry that I know is out there.’ Heydon continued, ‘we are delighted that Eddie Hobbs has agreed to attend and give a presentation on the night. Eddie has actively highlighted the crisis we face as we approach peak oil production, Ireland must tap into the massive potential that sugar beet has when it comes to Bio ethanol production.’