Fine Gael TD for Kildare South, Martin Heydon recently visited Brussels as part of a delegation from the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine to meet EU Officials dealing with negotiations on the future of the Sugar Quota.

“As representatives of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, we wanted to impress on the officials the huge strides that are ongoing in Ireland to re-introduce the industry and the need for support in that aim from the EU.  The current Sugar Quota system will expire at the end of September 2015 and Ireland wants to be part of whatever new system is introduced.  This could either be an extension of the current quota regime or an abolition of quota’s altogether.

“The CAP Negotiations over the next few months will be critical in dealing with this issue. Our Group of Deputy Andrew Doyle (Wicklow) and Deputy Tom Barry (Cork) and myself put foward a strong case on the benefits that a domestic sugar supply would bring to our recovering economy.  We emphasised that it would ensure security of supply at a lower price for the many food and pharmaceutical companies in Ireland that depend on a sugar source as well as providing much needed employment and economic activity in many rural communities.

“I also organised and attended a meeting last week where Beet Ireland, the group promoting a return to sugar production in Ireland briefed Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney on their progress and future plans. The Taoiseach expressed his support for the project saying he “strongly believed in the project and recognised how it would contribute to Ireland’s future economic success”.

“Our visit to Brussels last week was another important step in furthering that message and continuing to apply Government support where it can best assist the project. The ultimate decision will be made as part of the upcoming vital CAP negotiations which will take place during Ireland’s presidency of the EU in 2013.