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Minister Coveney approves payments to ERS Dependents

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today confirmed that the practice of paying the Early Retirement Scheme pension to eligible dependents of deceased ERS participants will continue.

"Such payments however will no longer be co-funded by the EU", said the Minister, "but will be 100% exchequer funded". Since the first Scheme of Early Retirement from farming was introduced in 1994, it had been the practice of the Department to continue to pay the pension to dependents of participants who died before the period of their pension had elapsed, where eligible. However following EU audit of the Scheme, the Department was informed by the European Commission that this practice was not compatible with the governing Regulation. As a consequence, Minister Coveney added that "the processing of such cases was suspended pending further consideration by officials in my Department". He added "I am aware of the hardship caused by the suspension particularly at such a difficult time and am delighted to announce such payments will be funded entirely from within my Department's budget".

The Minister concluded by stating that "my Department will immediately prioritise processing of applications already received and offer continuance of the pension in line with previous practice".

Date Released: 27 July 2011