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Minister Coughlan announces payments under Sugar Beet Diversification Fund

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mary Coughlan TD, today announced the commencement of payments to former sugar beet growers under the diversification element of the Sugar Reform package agreed last year. The Minister explained that these payments are the latest phase of payments due to the farmers affected. "I am pleased to announce that these payments, worth almost €22 million, have begun to issue to the farmers concerned," the Minister said. "Given the difficulties experienced by those former growers, I am determined that the payments due under the various elements of the compensation package be made as swiftly as possible," she added.

These payments are in addition to the inclusion of payments to former sugar beet growers in the Single Payment regime as well as those payments already made to beet growers and machinery contractors under the Restructuring element of the reform package, worth approximately €15 million, which were made earlier in the year. In addition, a further payment under the Diversification element, worth an additional €22m, will be made subject to clearance with the EU Commission. The Minister added she would also be seeking retroactivity of the compensation arrangements under the new sugar reform proposals currently before the EU Council, which are expected to be adopted this week.

25 September, 2007

Date Released: 25 September 2007