Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Questions (663)

Dan Neville

Question:

677 Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will make a statement on a matter (details supplied); his views on proposals by the Irish Farmers Association (details supplied). [35206/12]

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

My commitment to agri-environmental schemes are evident in the funding of €243m which has been provided to meet commitments under Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS) and the Agri-environment Options Scheme (AEOS) in 2012. The commitment is also clear from the fact that despite serious budgetary pressures, I re-opened the AEOS to new entrants last year. Strict budgetary constraints remain in place and, as a result, the management of the limited resources represents a very challenging situation involving difficult choices.

I have received a number of representations regarding the re-opening of the Agri-Environment Options Scheme (AEOS) in 2012 including submissions from the Irish Farmers Association.

I am actively considering the possibility of re-opening 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. I will make an announcement as soon as I have made my decision.