Tuesday, 2 March 2004

Questions (143, 144)

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

223 Mr. J. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the number of farmers who entered into the farm retirement scheme from the beginning; and the numbers in payment under the scheme. [6675/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Agriculture and Food)

A total of 10,275 applications were approved under the 1994 scheme of early retirement from farming of which 5,601 are still in payment. Since its commencement in November 2000, a total of 2,277 applications have been received under the early retirement scheme 2000. Of these 2,086 have been approved for payment, 60 have been refused, 113 are being processed and 18 were withdrawn. A number of the applications that were refused may yet be successful if the deficiencies identified in them are rectified.

Billy Timmins

Question:

224 Mr. Timmins asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the position in relation to a pension for a person (details supplied) in County Carlow; if, in view of this, the decision can be re-examined; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6710/04]

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The person named entered the early retirement scheme in joint management with her husband. In keeping with the governing EU regulations, the early retirement pension is payable only as a supplement to any national retirement pension payable to the participant and, in the case of a joint management arrangement, to his or her spouse or partner also. As the combined value of the national retirement pensions payable to the person named and her husband exceed the value of the early retirement pension, payment of that pension must cease.