Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture, Éamon Ó Cuív TD, has expressed his disappointment with the announcement today that only 6,000 applicants have been accepted into the AEOS III scheme.
Deputy Ó Cuív said that over 3,000 applicants to the scheme were rejected and takes the view that the scheme should have been extended, considering the exceptional circumstances that farmers have faced over the last 12 months.
He commented, “While I welcome the fact that the Minster has finally announced the approval for 6,000 applicants for AEOS III, over 3,000 farmers who applied will be left with no support.
“The last 12 months have been a nightmare for farmers all over the country, the adverse weather conditions last summer, last winter and during the spring have contributed to an unprecedented fodder crisis. Farmers are now depending on Pillar I and Pillar II payments and I would have liked to see some flexibility from the Minister on this.
“Minister Coveney would not have had to find the extra money to fund the extension to the scheme this year as AEOS III payments are not due until 2014. This decision smacks of penny pinching by the Minister, with little thought given to the real cost of what he is doing.
“The Minister has also yet to explain why the announcement of the contracts in the scheme was delayed for almost 2 months.
“Actually, given the delay in commencing the scheme, there is now no reason for the Minister not to increase the number of places on the scheme to 10,000 if he was serious about giving sustainable support to the farming community.”