Some 16 months into AEOS 3 farmers still waiting for their first full payment, according to Roscommon/South Leitrim TD Denis Naughten.

He says the fact that farmers are still waiting to receive a 25% of their AEOS 3 payment for 2013 is “unacceptable”.

A total of 6,000 farmers were approved into the AEOS 3 environmental scheme with a contract commencement date of May 1, 2013. However, due to delays with red tape it took until May 2014 for farmers to receive an initial payment from the Department of Agriculture and farmers are still awaiting further payments.

“The total annual payment due to farmers under AEOS 3 is approximately €20m and any delay in issuing payment to farmers puts additional financial pressure on many farming operations, which has a knock on impact on other local businesses,” he said.

He went on to say that he has been informed by the Department of Agriculture that it is currently working to issue the outstanding initial 75% payments still owing before other farmers are issued with payment for the final 25%.

“The Department of Agriculture must issue the remaining payments to all farmers without further delay. There is no justification for the payment to be withheld for 16 months and Minister Coveney should ensure that these funds are released immediately.”