Tuesday, 15 June 1999
Dáil Éireann Debate
153. Mr. Farrelly asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the reason a person (details supplied) in County Meath has had her farm retirement pension reduced from £553 to £539; if this retirement pension will be extended to the age of 75 years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14824/99]
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): The rate of pension paid to the person named under the early retirement scheme was designated in ECUs up to the end of December, 1998 and since that date in euros. The amount of pension payable in euros is converted to punts at the rate which was set at 1 January, 1999 and this is 5.055 per cent lower than the rate at which ECUs were converted to punts for the pension scheme. As a result, this persons pension under the scheme was reduced by 5.055 per cent from 1 January 1999. My Department is in consultation with the EU Commission regarding the level compensation that may be paid in respect of these  losses. Approval of the EU is necessary before compensation will be paid.
In line with the provisions of the present scheme payment of the pension to the person named will cease from the date of her 70th birthday. The provisions of the rural development regulation that was recently adopted by the Agriculture Council as part of the Agenda 2000 agreement cannot apply before 1 January 2000. Details of the new early retirement measure to apply in Ireland are under consideration in my Department. The proposals will form part of the rural development plan which has to be submitted before the end of this year for European Commission approval.
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