Dáil Éireann - Volume 541 - 04 October, 2001

Written Answers. - Farm Retirement Scheme.

84. Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development the plans he has to index link farm early retirement scheme payments. [21572/01]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (Mr. Walsh): The rate of pension payable under the 1994 early retirement scheme is the maximum provided for in the EU Council regulation under which the scheme was introduced.

In its proposals for the early retirement scheme that commenced on 27 November 2000, which forms part of the CAP rural development plan for the period 2000-06, my Department had included provision for annual increases in pension over the period of the plan. The European Commission indicated that this was not acceptable and that a fixed rate must be set. My Department then proposed a rate which was the average of the scale initially put forward; this was accepted by the Commission and is the rate provided for in the new scheme.