Dáil Éireann - Volume 610 - 15 November, 2005

Written Answers. - EU Sugar Regime.

  177. Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food further to the continued problems regarding the EU sugar regime, her plans to examine alternative uses for the beet farmers produce, especially in regard to the possible production of ethanol or other bio-fuels; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34168/05]

  Mary Coughlan: The Commissions proposals for reform of the sugar regime are currently the sub[192] ject of intensive discussions in Brussels and will be the main item on the agenda of next week’s Council of Agriculture Ministers meeting. My objections to the Commission’s proposals are well known and I remain resolute in seeking to achieve a more balanced arrangement which will take Ireland’s interests into account.

The production of ethanol from sugar beet is a possible alternative outlet for farmers but, as matters stand, Irish Sugar Limited has arrangements in place to process the full Irish sugar quota at its Mallow plant, which has been upgraded for that purpose. The question of an alternative use for sugar beet does not therefore arise at present.