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Single Payment Scheme: Coughlan clarifies position of Early Retirement Scheme farmers who leased entitlements

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan TD, announced today that she has secured clarification from the European Commission regarding the sale of Single Payment entitlements by farmers who have retired under the current Early Retirement Scheme.

It has now been clarified that where the lessee has used the entitlements in 2005 for example, and the lease subsequently expires, the farmer who owns the entitlements will now also have the option to sell or gift their entitlements without land. It was the understanding that retired farmers, who had activated their entitlements and leased them to their transferees would, once the lease expires, be allowed to lease or sell those entitlements with land. Such farmers would be unable to sell their entitlements without land because the entitlements were not used by the farmer for whom they were established. The Minister said that this concession applies not only to farmers in the Early Retirement Scheme, but to all farmers for whom entitlements were established.

"In terms of the Single Payment Scheme I am satisfied that we have secured the best deal that we could for farmers in the Early Retirement Scheme," said the Minister. This latest concession comes on top of two other important issues already secured. In family cases where a farm reverts to the retired farmer at the end of a lease, a family member taking it over will have access to the National Reserve. Retired farmers who farmed during the reference period were in a position to activate their entitlements in 2005 and lease them to their transferee.

22 May 2006

Date Released: 22 May 2006