Dáil Éireann - Volume 520 - 30 May, 2000

Written Answers. - Farm Retirement Scheme.

136. Mr. Perry asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development if he will grant continuation of the early retirement pension for a person (details supplied) in County Sligo in view of the fact that her income has been reduced as she is no longer employed and in further view of the fact that she is now terminally ill; if he will make a favourable decision in light of the extenuating circumstance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14980/00]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (Mr. Walsh): The late husband of the person named was a participant in the scheme of early retirement from farming and died on 13 August 1996. She then applied to have the pension paid to her, as his dependant, but my Department was obliged to refuse her application. A pension may continue to be paid to the dependant of a deceased participant if the dependent's resulting total income, including income from all other sources, is not greater than the maximum pension payable under the scheme together with the average industrial wage as determined by the Central Statistics Office. The application by the person named failed at the time because her total income, if her late husband's pension had been paid to her, would have exceeded that threshold. The pension then lapsed.

My Department is most sympathetic to the circumstances outlined by the Deputy but unfortunately there is no provision for her previous application to be revived. As the scheme of early retirement from farming is approved and co-financed by the European Commission under EU Council Regulation 2079/92, my Department has no discretion in the matter.