All outstanding Basic Payment Scheme, Greening and Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) cases, are continuing to be prioritised by the Department of Agriculture.

According to the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney as outstanding cases are processed and cleared, payments will be made over the coming weeks.

The Minister said that of the approximately 121,500 eligible applicants, 115,930 farmers have received basic payments totalling €1.006 billion.

Advance payments of the Basic Payment Scheme commenced on October 16; the earliest that payments can commence under the governing EU Regulations.

“I can confirm that the level of the advance payment was set at 70% for 2015 rather than the normal 50%.

“The increase in the advance payment for 2015 is, in particular, due to the difficulties encountered in the dairying and pigmeat sectors,” he said.

Speaking about the ANC payments, the Minister said a total of 83,864 farmers have received payments totalling €178.6m.

To date, there has been 102,350 applicants with eligible designated lands to the ANC scheme, according to the Department.

There are no advance payments or instalments under the ANC scheme.

It should be noted that many farmers cannot be paid until early 2016 when they comply with the stocking requirements of the scheme.

EU Regulations governing the BPS require the Department to carry out administrative checks to verify that the eligibility conditions for aid have been met.

The regulations also require that these administrative checks be supplemented by on-the-spot checks, i.e. ground and/or remote sensing inspections.

Furthermore, the Department said the regulations state that payments due under the Direct Payment schemes shall not be made before the verification of the eligibility conditions have been finalised.

This means where an individual application has been selected for a remote sensing inspection, no payment can issue to the applicant until the inspection has been completed and the results are fully processed.