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Ferris welcomes EU decision to examine Early Retirement Scheme issues

17 February, 2004

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD has welcomed the decision by the EU Committee on Petitions to examine the issues raised by retired Irish farmers who feel that they are being hard done by under the Single Farm Payment. A number of groups who represent farmers who took part in the Early Retirement Scheme have raised concerns about the manner in which their entitlements are being established under the new decoupled payment.

Deputy Ferris said: "While I have welcomed full decoupling as part of the reform of the CAP, I have been aware for some time of the difficulties that are facing those farmers who took part in the ERS. They now feel that they are going to lose out due to the manner in which their entitlements will be established over the reference years chosen by the Department.

"This has come up before the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture where Minister Walsh and his officials, and members like myself, have been made aware of the problems that exist. The Committee will be making recommendations regarding the operation of the scheme to which I will contribute. However, I also hope that the immediate issues regarding the Single Farm Payment will be addressed in a substantial way by the Department. Hopefully, the examination of the petition will help to clarify some of these." ENDS

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