Labour Party to support efforts to restore Irish sugar beet processing
The Labour Party has thrown its weight behind the campaign to restore the Irish sugar- processing sector.
Labour Party agriculture spokesperson Sean Sherlock said the party would seek to ensure that the next programme for Government would include a commitment to assessing the potential to restore the Irish sugar quota beyond 2015.
Mr Sherlock insisted that the review of the current EU sugar regime, scheduled to take place in 2014, should be seized as an opportunity to secure an allocation of tonnage or quota to ensure Ireland produces sugar again.
"While this is an issue dominated by countries such as Germany and France, the Labour Party will adopt a strong position and we will be seeking a feasibility study involving all stakeholders and a renegotiation at European level through intense dialogue with our European partners," Mr Sherlock said.
EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos has confirmed that the future of the sugar quota system will form part of the debate on reform of the CAP post-2013.
However, Commission officials appeared to pour cold water on the hopes of Irish farmers being allowed to again process beet for sugar production.
Having paid €310m in compensation to beet growers, contractors and the processor Greencore following the closure of the Irish industry in 2006, sources in Brussels appeared to dismiss the possibility of Ireland being allowed to once again produce sugar.