IFA seeks solution to ERS delays

Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

The IFA has called for an immediate resolution to the problems that are holding up the processing of hardship applications under the Early Retirement Scheme (ERS).

Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith re-opened the ERS for the hardship cases that were locked out after the October 2008 Budget decision to suspend the scheme.

However, it has emerged that the continued closure of the Installation Aid scheme is now preventing the reopening of 170 ERS hardship cases.

The association's rural development chairman, Tom Turley, said by the end of the October 2009 expiry date around 170 hardship cases had applied, yet no file was processed for payment by the Department of Agriculture.

In many cases, these retiring farmers are suffering severe financial hardship as their lands have been transferred, Mr Turley said.

He said it would appear that around one-third of the cases relate to Category A transferees, which involve the transfer or lease of land from the ERS applicant to young farmers who were also applying for the Installation Aid.

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