Written Answers. - Farm Retirement Scheme.

Seymour Crawford

Ceist:

65 Mr. Crawford asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development if there will be a recognition given to those farmers who were in the process of entering the early retirement scheme but were blocked by the foot and mouth regulations; if they will get their pension from date of application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17490/01]

Special arrangements were introduced during the foot and mouth crisis to accept applications from older farmers even though they continued to hold stock because of the restrictions in place at the time. This concession is limited to those farmers whose period of eligibility under the scheme would have been reduced if they had to delay their applications until the lifting of these restrictions. An application in these circumstances could be processed up to payment stage. Once the stock is disposed of and proof that the herd number has been cancelled is furnished to the Department, payment will be made to the applicants from the valid date of their applications.