Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture and Food, Éamon Ó Cuív TD, has expressed his extreme disappointment that sugar quotas in the EU will not be abolished until 2017.
Deputy Ó Cuív was reacting to the announcement by the Council of Agriculture Ministers last night.
“It was extremely disappointing to learn that sugar quotas will not be abolished until 2017. We need sugar production to be recommenced in Ireland .There are companies that are ready and able to do this well before 2017.
“It was also another missed opportunity for Minister Coveney to use Ireland’s Presidency of the European Union to garner support for this. The EU Agriculture Commissioner confirmed to me last week that he supported abolishing the quotas by 2015, Minister Coveney now needs to take the lead and push this through.
“The Sugar Beet industry was very successful in Ireland and it was dealt a mortal blow in 2006 when the EU brought in these restrictions.
“A revived indigenous sugar industry in Ireland has the potential to create 5,000 jobs. The industry could 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.
“Global sugar prices have doubled since the industry was closed in 2006. There still is huge support within the farming community for the quotas to be abolished. Minister Coveney still has time to make an impression here before the new CAP is signed off. He must make this a red-line issue for Ireland and express the necessity for the sugar industry to be reopened.”