Under the terms and conditions of the Early Retirement Scheme, persons who participated in that Scheme are contracted not to return to farming. Such persons may only return to farming if they agree to repay all moneys received under that Scheme.
The person named participated in the Early Retirement Scheme at which time he leased out his entire holding and all entitlements for a period which includes 2013. Consequently he did not receive a direct payment in 2013 and does not have an automatic ‘allocation right’ to receive entitlements under the new Basic Payment Scheme.
In these circumstances the value of the entitlements will be lost to both lessor and lessee unless the entitlements in question are transferred permanently by sale or gift before 15 May 2014 to a person who holds an allocation right, ideally the existing lessee. The Direct Payment Regulation is very clear in its intent that entitlements should not be allocated to persons who are not active farmers. The question of force majeure does not arise in these circumstances.
It should be noted that Minister Noonan recently announced a Capital Gains Tax relief for certain farmers who must dispose of their single farm payment entitlements on foot of changes being introduced under the new EU Common Agriculture Policy (CAP).
My Department issued a letter to the person named on 21st March, 2014 advising him of his options.