Sugar Growing Expands

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  • Aspects of Carlow

In the 1930s, the Government was very interested in making sure the Irish sugar industry was a success. In 1933, it set up a company called Comhlucht Siúicre Éireann to take over the original factory in Carlow. As well as this plant, sugar factories were built in the 1930s at Mallow, Co. Cork; Thurles, Co. Tipperary; and Tuam, Co. Galway.

At this time, the Irish sugar industry was seen as beneficial to the economy. However, with the onset of the Second World War, the industry experienced very difficult times. Many of the foreign workers decided to go home, so the Irish staff had to learn to run the factories by themselves. Sugar production continued, despite the wartime shortages. In the area around the Carlow factory alone, there were over 10,500 beet growers in the early 1940s.

The factory founded in Carlow in 1926 closed in 2006 after eighty years in operation. The chief reason for the closure was that sugar could be bought more cheaply from abroad.