Written Answers. - Farm Retirement Scheme.

Brian O'Shea

Ceist:

212 Mr. O'Shea asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development the reason deductions of £48.50 per week and £83 per month are made from the farm retirement scheme payments of persons (details supplied) in County Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7408/01]

The persons named entered the scheme of early retirement from farming in joint management. The regulation under which the scheme was introduced requires that the pension payable under the scheme must be reduced by the amount of any national retirement pension which becomes payable to either the applicant or their spouse-partner in a joint management situation. Participants in the scheme are required to notify my Department immediately such pensions are awarded so as to avoid overpayments.

One of the persons named qualified for a national retirement pension from 9 April 1999 but my Department was not notified of this until May 2000. By that stage a substantial over payment had occurred. In order to comply with its obligations in respect of EU funds, my Department has no option but to recover the resulting overpayment from future payments due to this person. The early retirement pension, therefore, has had to be reduced by the amount of the national retirement pension and by an additional amount to recover the over payment.