Doubts over the future of the Irish Sugar Company plant at Tuam in Galway.

A decision on whether the loss making Irish Sugar Company factory at Tuam in County Galway is to close is being made by the government and the Minister for Agriculture Austin Deasy.

The Irish Sugar Company factory at Tuam in County Galway is operating at a loss and in June 1983, the decision was taken by the Sugar Company board to close the plant. If the government decides to keep the Tuam factory open for social reasons, the board estimates it will cost the tax payer an estimated £3 million annually.

It is now a cabinet decision whether the factory at Tuam is to close and the decision mainly lies in the hands of Minister for Agriculture Austin Deasy.

Rather than being the bearer of bad news, Minister Deasy arrived in Tuam with an open mind on whether the Tuam plant should remain open or be closed for good.

The figures indicate that it is making heavy losses; nevertheless there is a social aspect involved.

He does not think the Tuam case should be taken in isolation as all loss making state or semi state enterprises should be examined in the same context. He wants to see a rational decision taken about the future of the factory and hopes whatever decision is made is not to the detriment of Tuam.

Ideally the solution would be, I think, if we could get a replacement industry, to give similar employment as that which is now given by the sugar industry, by the Sugar Company. If that can’t be done then I think there is, there must be a case for retaining Tuam.

However he is not the sole arbitrator and the final decision will be made by the government.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 14 July 1983. The reporter is Michael Lally.