Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture, Éamon Ó Cuív TD, met with EU Agriculture Commissioner, Dacian Ciolos yesterday and stressed to him the importance of sugar quotas being abolished to allow Ireland re-establish a sugar industry. The Commissioner indicated his support for this but asserted that Ministerial backing from Ireland for the policy was also important.
Deputy Ó Cuív says that Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, as President of the European Council, must step up efforts to ensure the sugar quotas are abolished to revive the industry here.
“I met with Commissioner Ciolos yesterday and he outlined the necessity to abolish sugar quotas in Europe. It represents a huge opportunity for Minister Coveney to use Ireland’s Presidency of the European Union to garner support for this.
“A revived indigenous sugar industry in Ireland has the potential to create 5,000 jobs. The industry could also be highly profitable, and would greatly assist struggling tillage farmers who rely on beet for their crop rotation and who have been pushed to their limits in recent months and years.
“With reduced funding under CAP, extremely poor weather and increased fuel costs, farmers are struggling to make profits. If the sugar industry in Ireland were to be revived, it would provide a huge boost to the agriculture sector here.
“Global sugar prices have doubled since the industry was closed in 2006. There is huge support within the farming community for the quotas to be abolished and Minister Coveney needs to use this sentiment to impress upon his European colleagues the need to re-establish the sector here.”