Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Questions (631)

Michael McCarthy


644 Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will confirm the date on which the agri environment options scheme is being launched; the amount of investment the scheme will entail; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34467/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine)

I am aware of the importance of agri environment payments to the agriculture sector and am actively considering the possibility of re-opening the Agri-Environment Options Scheme (AEOS) to allow for the submission of applications this year either on an amended basis from the existing scheme and/or on a limited scale. However, there are strict budgetary constraints in place and, as a result, the management of the limited resources represents a very challenging situation involving difficult choices. The full year cost of any new scheme will have to be met in 2013 and any decision to re-open AEOS will be taken in the context of consideration of the resources available and the need to remain within the agreed expenditure ceiling for my Department in 2013. I will make an announcement as soon as I have reached a decision on the situation.