Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture, Éamon Ó Cuív TD has called on the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to increase the number of places on the AEOS Scheme to cover all of those who have applied for it.
In a recent reply to a Parliamentary Question, Deputy Ó Cuív was informed that approximately 9,500 applications were received in the Department by the closing date for submissions of applications under AEOS 3.
The initial processing of the applications has been completed and acknowledgement letters will shortly issue to applicants. Following this, the detailed actions list on each application will be recorded and all applications will be ranked and selected according to predetermined criteria.
Deputy Ó Cuív commented: “This process is expected to take several weeks. At that stage letters will issue to all applicants informing them of the outcome, the selection process and of the commencement date, if appropriate.
“In view of the fact that the number of applicants does not exceed the proposed number of places by much and as it is unlikely that all of the applicants would complete the programme even if admitted to the scheme, I suggest that the Minister increases the number of places on AEOS 3 from 6,000 to 9,500, even if he has to stagger the commencement dates over the coming year.
“By doing this he could ensure that the payments under the scheme could be made within existing budget restraints. The maximum payment per annum under the scheme is €4,000 and if the extra 3,500 applicants were allowed to join the scheme with a first payment date in either late 2014 or early 2015, the impact on the agriculture budget will be insignificant.
“I now call on the Minister to take a positive view and allow all of these applications into the scheme.”