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In the wake of yesterday’s European Court of Auditors report Fine Gael Cork East TD, David Stanton has called on the Government to immediately initiate a feasibility study into the re-opening of the Irish sugar industry.

“The shutdown of our sugar industry had a devastating impact on our economy and employment here which affected thousands of jobs. It forced the closure of the Mallow sugar factory and impacted on farmers, contractors, hauliers and other workers dependent on the sugar industry. It has also had implications for tillage farmers’ crop rotation. Now it has emerged from the Auditors report that the European Commission decisions to shut down our sugar industry was based on out of date information.

“I am appalled that this decision taken in 2005, which had such huge implications for our economy, could be based on inaccurate statistics. It failed to take into account the many changes that had taken place at the Greencore plant. Now as a result we are totally dependent on foreign sugar imports which were valued at almost €77 million in 2008 and over €99 million in 2009.

“Our perfectly functioning and viable sugar industry should never have been shut down. The Government must initiate a feasibility study into re-starting our sugar industry aligned with ethanol production. Talks must also be initiated with the European Commission as to how this could come about.”