Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture, Éamon Ó Cuív TD, has reiterated his call for the number of places on the Agri Environment Option Scheme (AEOS) to be expanded.

Deputy Ó Cuív stated: “I am again calling on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, to increase the number of places on the new AEOS 3 Scheme from 6,000 to 10,000. The simple fact is many farmers have spent money putting plans in place for the scheme, some of who will now be excluded from it unnecessarily. This scheme encourages farmers to carry out their farming in an environmentally friendly manner and more should be encouraged to do this.

“Such a decision need not cost any money in 2013, as the Minister could make an arrangement that the extra places on the scheme would not receive their first payment until January 2014. The AEOS Scheme protects the environment and also helps farmers who were previously in the REPS Scheme to maintain at least part of their income.

“I am calling on the Minister to expand the scheme and I will continue to press him on this matter in the coming weeks.”