Hopes for the return of sugar production to the Mallow region rose this week when it was announced that a number of Cork sites are being examined as potential sites for a factory. Deputy Tom Barry described the decision to dismantle the sugar production quotas as having huge potential for the Mallow area and revealed that one of the sites being looked at is between Mallow and Fermoy. The former Greencore site is also being examined, as is the Amgen site on the Cork-Midleton road.

The deputy went on to claim that the abolition of sugar quotas would not have happened at all if a meeting had not been held in the Hibernian Hotel in 2010. “That meeting gave a clear indication that people wanted to return to sugar. It was a cold, frosty night but the hall was packed, and the people who attended that night have a lot to be proud of,” he said. “I would like to pay tribute to Minister Simon Coveney and his team of negotiators who understood our concerns with regard to sugar and did not sacrifice it in the difficult negotiations.”

Speaking at a meeting of Cork Co Council this week, local representatives Noel O’Connor, Ronan Sheehan and Frank O’Keeffe called for the factory to be built on the old Greencore site in Mallow, saying it has an EPA licence, a rail link and access to major roads. Cork Co Council has been asked by Sugar Beet Ireland to identify suitable sites for a new factory in 2017, and a report has been given to Sugar Beet Ireland. A further meeting will be held in the next few weeks to discuss the suitability of the selected sites.

Deputy Barry said there was now a big chance for Cork to be the site for the new factory. “The game is on, and there could be good news for Mallow,” he said.