THE sugar beet industry should be revived in order to tackle unemployment, according to Cllr Alan Hand.
The Portlaoise Town councillor proposed the idea at the recent council meeting, where he said that the dole queues in Portlaoise have seen a marked increase recently and he encouraged the government to use every avenue available to implement a plan to create more jobs.
“Up to 5,000 jobs could be created if the sugar beet industry were revived,” said Cllr Hand. “We’re importing sugar from Britain at the moment and we should call on the country to look at doing what we do best.”
Cllr Hand reckoned that the revival of the industry in Ireland would easily generate jobs and would be profitable within one year.
Cllr Tom Jacob said it was an absolute scandal what had happened to the indigenous sugar beet industry and he lamented the handover of Ireland’s sugar production to the UK company Greencore.
“We’re importing sugar at three times the price and we were given a guarantee at the time that it could be imported cheaper,” said Cllr Jacob.