Kildare South Fine Gael TD Martin Heydon this week attended the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture where presentations were received from Beet Ireland and the Sugar Bio Refinery Group. The groups set out detailed proposals on their plans to redevelop the sugar industry.

Speaking at the Committee, Deputy Heydon stated “The work carried out by the separate groups both show the viability and sustainability of a new industry here in Ireland. While a return to sugar production in Ireland would constitute just one percent of the overall EU sugar quota, its restoration would be of huge benefit to our high performing agri-food industry”.

“It is encouraging to see the cross party support for the return of this industry and all parties will now work together at both Irish and EU level to ensure a strong case is made for Irelands return to production.

“The current EU Commission proposal is to end sugar quotas after 2015, however this deadline may be extended as a number of European countries are opposed to this timeline. Even if the quota system still remains after 2015, Ireland will be fighting for a share of that quota or a derogation to restart sugar production as our impediment to doing so ceases on September 30th of that year.

“In trying to create jobs, we should concentrate on what we are good at. Ireland has the soil, climate, and huge expertise on the grower, contractor and manufacturing fronts to maximize the benefits of a return to production of sugar” concluded Heydon.