Over 1,300 farmers still awaiting AEOS payments

Over 1,300 farmers are still awaiting payments under the Agricultural Environment Options Scheme (AEOS), the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has confirmed.

Responding to a parliamentary question from Fianna Fail’s spokesperson on agriculture, Charlie McConalogue, Minister Creed revealed that 1,321 participants are still awaiting a payment.

This means that 15% of the total number of participants (8,640) of the scheme are awaiting their full 2016 payment.

Counties Galway, Donegal and Mayo represent the regions with the highest number of participants awaiting a payment.

Particpants from these counties account for 46% (4,004 participants) of the total number of AEOS recipients.

Some 185 participants in counties Galway and Donegal are awaiting a payment under the scheme. Meanwhile, 181 participants in Co. Mayo are awaiting a payment.

These three counties represent just over 40% of the total number of participants awaiting a payment.

AEOS II participants completed their five-year contracts on December 31, 2016, Minister Creed said.

“Under the EU regulations governing this scheme and all other area-based payment schemes, a full check, including cross-checks with the Land Parcel Identification System, must take place before payments can be issued.

“As all AEOS II participants will be receiving their final payments under the scheme, re-checks on payments made for all scheme years must be completed before final payment can be processed.

“All cases cleared for payment are paid on a weekly basis,” he said.

In the past two weeks, full 2016 payments have been issued to close to 280 participants.

GLAS Payments

Last week, the Department of Agriculture gave a commitment to the IFA that outstanding GLAS payments will be completed by the end of April.

The commitment was reportedly given at a meeting of the Farmers’ Charter of Rights Monitoring Committee in Portlaoise, Co. Laois.

The delays in GLAS payments to around 4,000 farmers are totally unacceptable, according to the IFA’s Deputy President Richard Kennedy.

He called on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, to get all payments out without any further delay.