Wednesday, September 26 16:45:33
Sinn Fein today called for the revival of the now defunct sugar beet industry in Ireland, claiming that it could create up to 5,000 jobs.
The party's finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty, along with local rep Oisin O'Connell launched the party's plan for the revival of the Irish Sugar Beet industry in New Ross today at the Ploughing Championships.
Mr O' Connell, the Chairperson of County Wexford Sinn Fein and a local tillage farmer, has called for the construction of new bio-refinery plant for the production of sugar and ethanol from sugar beet and grain in New Ross.
"The collapse of the Irish sugar beet industry in 2006, brought about by the loss of our national quota and the closure of our processing plants, not only adversely affected tillage farmers and others directly involved in the sector, but also had a knock on effect right across Irish society. People sometimes forget that a successful industry like sugar can have huge benefits for all of society," he said.
"The IFA estimates that farmers and farm families spend E8 billion per year in our economy. It's thought that 300,000 jobs are supported by the agriculture, food and related industries. For every E100 of agriculture output there is a further E73 of output to the wider economy. It's very evident that a strong agri community can lift a stagnant economy like ours and help get people back to work."
Mr Doherty pointed to the job creation benefits of revitalising the industry:
"What we need is investment in sustainable, lucrative industries like sugar beet processing. Sinn Fein is proposing the construction of a new bio-refinery plant for the production of sugar and ethanol from sugar beet and grain at a cost of E350 million. It will create 5,000 jobs and be profitable within the first year. Why? Because to be so gainful sugar beet prices need to be above E570 a tonne. When you take that sugar beet prices currently stand at E850 per tonne for imported sugar, the revival of our domestic sugar beet industry makes total economic sense."