Wednesday 22 November 2017

Revived sugar industry could create 5,000 jobs


Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

REVIVING the Irish sugar industry could create thousands of jobs and cut millions from Ireland's import bill, a new report has found.

A new feasibility study on the sugar industry released yesterday showed that building a new refinery plant would create 5,000 jobs and eliminate imports of up to €200m a year.

The study from the Irish Sugar Bio-Refinery Group (ISBG) calls for an integrated bio-refinery plant to be built at a new site in the south-east, and claims such a plant would "bring new licence opportunities for farmers" and "enhance security of sugar supply for food processors and consumers".

The group, which includes former Greencore chief executive Chris Comerford, said the plant would cost €350m to build.

The plant would employ 200 people on a day-to-day basis with the rest of the jobs being created on farms and support services for the plant. It could be built within two years of the EU approving the revival of sugar production in Ireland, the report claims.

The sugar industry in Ireland has been dead since Greencore pulled out of the business in 2006. Under the plan, about 30pc of the required finance would come from equity investment and 70pc from bank loans borrowed over 15 years.

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