Some 1,204 farmers have yet to receive a payment under Agri-Environment Options Scheme (AEOS) for the 2016 scheme year, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, said last week.

Speaking in Dail Eireann, Minister Creed said 8,640 valid AEOS applications were due to be paid under the scheme but, out of these, just 7,436 have actually been paid.

This comes as the Department of Agriculture continues to complete a number of checks relating to each application.

“Under the EU regulations governing the scheme and other area-based payment schemes, a comprehensive administrative check, including cross-checks with the land parcel identification system, must take place.

As 2016 is the final scheme year of payments for the AEOS 2 scheme, rechecks on payments made for all scheme years must be completed before final payments can be processed.

“This work is ongoing and payments for valid checked files are and will continue to be released on a weekly basis,” Minister Creed said when responding to a parliamentary question from the Fianna Fail Spokesperson on Agriculture Charlie McConalogue.

Minister Creed continued to say that a number of payments under both the GLAS and AEOS schemes continue to be held up due to incomplete documentation.

He also reminded all participants “to respond to any correspondence and submit any outstanding documentation as soon as possible to facilitate payment”.

“Payments under both schemes will continue on an ongoing basis as issues are resolved and cases are cleared for payment,” the Co. Cork based TD said.

Touching on the payments outstanding under both the GLAS and AEOS schemes, Charlie McConalogue said: “It is a disgrace that 3,000 farmers across the country are still waiting for GLAS payments in May 2017 and over 1,200 are awaiting payments under AEOS”.

Minister Creed responded: “I am not happy that this is the case. It is an embarrassment to me and the department that this issue continues.

“We have no vested interest in holding onto money that is due,” he said.