Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Landholders' Retirement Pensions.

Thursday, 4 May 1972

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 260 No. 11

First Page Previous Page Page of 95 Next Page Last Page

[1691]20.

Mr. Governey: Information on Desmond Governey  Zoom on Desmond Governey  asked the Minister for Lands if he will state in relation to the scheme providing retirement pensions for landholders who transfer their property the total number of applications received from the inception of the scheme to 31st March, 1972.

Minister for Lands (Mr. S. Flanagan): Information on Seán Flanagan  Zoom on Seán Flanagan  By 31st March, 1972, a total of 422 applications for participation in the life annuity scheme authorised by section 6 of the Land Act, 1965, had been received.

Mr. Governey: Information on Desmond Governey  Zoom on Desmond Governey  How many of these have been finalised?

Mr. S. Flanagan: Information on Seán Flanagan  Zoom on Seán Flanagan  A total of 198 were rejected, 78 preferred to take cash or land bonds by way of direct purchase and in 141 cases negotiations were authorised.

Mr. Governey: Information on Desmond Governey  Zoom on Desmond Governey  Have any pensions been granted?

Mr. S. Flanagan: Information on Seán Flanagan  Zoom on Seán Flanagan  Yes, 33.

Mr. Governey: Information on Desmond Governey  Zoom on Desmond Governey  Would the Minister not agree that that number falls very short of what may have been expected by the Department when the scheme was being introduced? Can he say if this is due to the fact that the retirement pension is very small and also that his Department did not give sufficient publicity to the scheme at the outset?

Mr. S. Flanagan: Information on Seán Flanagan  Zoom on Seán Flanagan  The overall result has been very disappointing. The level of the pension is only one of the factors involved. Perhaps it was lower than it should have been. The other factor was the continuing very strong desire of people and, particularly elderly people, to retain their land.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  Would the Minister not agree that the scheme in the EEC proposals is even worse than the one in operation here?

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  It is better.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  It is not, because, on reaching the statutory age for the old age pension, the amount of the old age [1692] pension is deducted from the other pension.

Mr. S. Flanagan: Information on Seán Flanagan  Zoom on Seán Flanagan  I do not accept that what Deputy Tully says is accurate. It has not been decided finally what is to be the exact form of the new scheme.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  It has been published by the EEC.

Mr. S. Flanagan: Information on Seán Flanagan  Zoom on Seán Flanagan  The EEC have published a draft of their proposal but, as the Deputy knows, discussions are continuing between our representatives and the EEC representatives in an effort to work out a scheme that will be acceptable both to them and to us in regard to this country.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  The scheme is an operation in the Common Market countries.

Mr. S. Flanagan: Information on Seán Flanagan  Zoom on Seán Flanagan  Let us be clear about this. I must not allow Deputy Tully to mislead the House. The details of the scheme as they will operate, should Ireland join the EEC, have not yet been finalised so far as this country is concerned. Deputy Tully must not be allowed to mislead the public into thinking that the scheme is finally accepted in respect of this country.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  Is the Minister trying to tell the House that there will be a separate and special pension scheme arranged for Irish farmers as distinct from that which is applicable to farmers in the other EEC countries? He must know that is not correct. It is he who is trying to mislead the House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  It is a separate question.

Mr. S. Flanagan: Information on Seán Flanagan  Zoom on Seán Flanagan  It may be a separate question but it is much too important a matter on which to allow Deputy Tully to mislead the House. This scheme will have to vary at least in some details in so far as this country is concerned by comparison with the way in which it operates in existing EEC countries. I am not suggesting that Deputy Tully is trying [1693] deliberately to mislead the House but I am telling him and the House that the scheme has not been finalised yet. The broad details are there but the final details are not settled yet. We know enough about it to be able to tell the Irish farmer roughly what way this scheme will operate but there will have to be differences between the way it operates in Europe and the way it operates here.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  The only difference will be the rate of pension.

Mr. S. Flanagan: Information on Seán Flanagan  Zoom on Seán Flanagan  That is not the only difference. Deputy Tully must not raise his hands as if to suggest that I am misleading the House.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  Either the Minister misunderstands the position or I am misunderstanding him.

Mr. S. Flanagan: Information on Seán Flanagan  Zoom on Seán Flanagan  I do not misunderstand.

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Is the scheme in operation in the Six?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  That is a separate question.

Mr. Governey: Information on Desmond Governey  Zoom on Desmond Governey  In the light of the Minister's reply and the figures given would he not consider that it would be advisable now to publicise the scheme?

Mr. S. Flanagan: Information on Seán Flanagan  Zoom on Seán Flanagan  That is a fair question. I think the best answer I can give the Deputy is to say that a reexamination of the entire situation in regard to the land structural programme is going on at present. I would not like to make assumptions because the referendum is next week, but should the Irish people decide to go into the EEC the results of our deliberations in regard to the whole land structural programme and the agricultural programme generally will be speeded up and the results will certainly include careful consideration of a revamping of this pension scheme.

Deputy Enright rose.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Would the Deputy please allow Questions to continue? I am calling Question No. 21.

[1694]Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  I have been endeavouring for the past ten minutes to ask a supplementary.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  There are 116 Questions to be dealt with by 5 o'clock.


Last Updated: 15/09/2010 02:33:25 First Page Previous Page Page of 95 Next Page Last Page