Written Answers. - Farm Retirement Scheme.

Ned O'Keeffe


251 Mr. E. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry the plans, if any, he has for the future of the farm retirement scheme [1985/96]

The scheme was introduced in January 1994 to run for a period of five years. At the end of December 1995, some 3,727 farmers had been paid pensions totalling over £33 million and it is expected that over its duration at least 7,000 farmers will retire under the scheme.

I am happy with the progress of this scheme to date both in terms of numbers participating and its effects on structural improvement. It would be useful to have the scheme continued after 1999 when the current programme is due to end.