Written answers

Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Department of Agriculture and Food

Sugar Beet Sector

8:00 am

Photo of M J NolanM J Nolan (Carlow-Kilkenny, Fianna Fail)
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Question 1384: To ask the Minister for Agriculture and Food the situation in relation to legal action being taken by Greencore plc against her Department; when this case will be heard in the High Court; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2283/07]

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Minister, Department of Agriculture and Food; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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The EU restructuring aid for the sugar industry, as provided for in Council Regulation (EC) No 320/2006, is to cover the economic, social and environmental costs of restructuring, involving factory closure and renunciation of quota. In July 2006, the Government made decisions regarding the percentage of the aid to be reserved for beet growers and contractors and the indicative breakdown of the potential allocation of the aid to be followed by Greencore in preparing its restructuring plan. These decisions are now the subject of judicial review proceedings instituted by Greencore in the High Court.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Question 1385: To ask the Minister for Agriculture and Food the value of the assets initially transferred to Greencore from the Irish Sugar Company; the value of the assets of Greencore at the closure of its sugar manufacturing operations; the full extent of compensation sought by the company, received or pending arising from the closure of the sugar factories; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2284/07]

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Minister, Department of Agriculture and Food; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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The assets of the Irish Sugar Company were transferred to Greencore, which was sold over the period 1991-1993. I understand from the Department of Finance that the total (gross) receipts were €210.65m, which represents the market value of the assets at the time. I am not in a position to comment on the value of Greencore's assets at the time of closure of its sugar manufacturing operations.

The compensation provided by the EU by way of restructuring aid for the sugar industry is calculated on a standard basis, namely €730 per tonne of sugar quota surrendered where full dismantling of production facilities is involved. In Ireland's case, this amounts to €145m approximately, to be allocated amongst eligible stakeholders in accordance with the EU regulations. The Government, as required by the regulations, made certain decisions last July regarding the allocation of the aid and in particular concerning the percentage of the aid to be reserved for growers and machinery contractors. These decisions are currently the subject of Judicial Review proceedings instituted by Greencore in the High Court and, in the circumstances, it would not be appropriate for me to comment further.

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