Tuesday, 27 March 2001
Dáil Eireann Debate
160. Mr. Aylward asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development if his Department will reconsider the decision to refuse an application, under the ERS2 2000 scheme, from a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8958/01]
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (Mr. Walsh): The person named has not farmed since 1982. He wrote to my Department inquiring about his eligibility under the new scheme of early retirement from farming. The position, as outlined by him, was that he had ceased farming in 1982 due to an outbreak of bovine tuberculosis and since then had leased his land and engaged in a business outside of farming.
The conditions for eligibility under the early retirement ERS2 2000 scheme specify that the applicant must have farmed for the ten calendar years prior to the signing of the transfer-lease documents and must, at the same time, derive not less than 25% of his or her income from farming. These conditions could not be met by the person named as he had ceased farming in 1982.
While provision is made under the scheme for the waiving of certain conditions under force majeure, my Department considered that the circumstances in this case, where the person named had not farmed for nearly 20 years, were such that he could not reasonably be considered eligible.
161. Mr. Aylward asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development if he will reinvestigate the refusal of farm retirement scheme to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny where the application was made under the new scheme on the advice of Teagasc and where the applicant strictly adhered to the advice given; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8959/01]
162. Mr. Aylward asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development if he will arrange early approval of farm retirement for a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny where the application has been lodged and acknowledged by his Department. [8960/01]
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (Mr. Walsh): The person named lodged an application under the new scheme of  early retirement from farming on 6 March 2001. Under the protocol on direct payments to farmers, my Department has undertaken to bring valid applications to the stage of approval for payment within 12 weeks if they are selected for pre-payment inspection, and ten weeks if they are not.
The initial desk-check on this application has been done and it is now in the relevant local office where it is being examined in detail. When the processing is finished the applicant will be notified promptly of the outcome.
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