The Minister for Agriculture has said there is currently no delay with the digitising of farm maps following questioning on the issue in the Dail this week.

Newly elected Roscommon Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice said over the past few weeks, it has come to his attention that there are many farmers who have not received their direct aid scheme payments.

He said that there seems to be a problem with the digitisation of farm maps.

The Minister said he can confirm that there is currently no delay with the digitising of farm maps.

To date, a total of 119,539 applicants, accounting for over 98% of all applicants with entitlements under the single payment scheme, have been paid a total of €1.142 billion between advance and balancing payments. The processing of the remaining unclear cases remains a priority, with twice-weekly payment runs being made to pay on applications that have been cleared for payment., he said.

Deputy Fitzmaurice said it was his understanding that when farmers telephoned asking about their payments they were told the maps for their farm were gone for digitisation and were not back and there appeared to be a delay.

Minister Coveney responded that he can understand why that would be the perception because there were significant delays in digitisation a couple of years ago relating to the agri-environment options scheme.

“There has also been concern for a number of farmers in regard to the LPIS review and the accuracy of maps and so on. The mapping and digitisation and the change of system that has been in place for a year has caused many concerns and in the past caused many delays for AEOS which was very frustrating in the Department in terms of trying to overcome those delays.”

The Minister stated that he does not think that is the problem now.

“If it is, I will look into it and we will fix it, but my understanding is that digitisation of maps is not the reason for the delay at the moment but I will certainly check it out,” he said.