Irish call for change
IRISH farming leaders want a change to the rules governing the early retirement scheme.
Tom ODwyer, Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association president, said the requirement that the person taking over the farm must expand the holding was increasing the rate of rural depopulation.
He said it was one of the most objectionable EU measures which must be immediately reversed. "There is no good social sense whatsoever in forcing a perfectly viable farm to increase in size.
"That requirement increases the competition for scarce land, making it impossible for a young farmer with a family to extend his unviable holding."
Mr ODwyer added that Eires national forestry programme had forced farmers to compete for extra land with corporate and other large investors interested in acquiring land for forestry. He claimed Europe was incapable of designing a forestry policy which balanced the apparent need for more trees with the survival needs of farm families.