'Two months' to sort AEOS payment delay
Computer problems spark IFA demands for manual action
Computer problems in the Department of Agriculture that are delaying €8m in payments to AEOS farmers could take up to two months to fix, the IFA has claimed.
The association has called on the Department of Agriculture to immediately switch to manual payments for the 8,600 farmers affected by the computer programming difficulties.
Tom Turley, of the IFA's rural development committee, said the problem came to light during recent discussions with Department officials.
"Some €8m is owed to 8,600 farmers and it is not acceptable that these payments cannot be made until a computer programme is set up," Mr Turley said. "Minister Coveney must now instruct the Department to pay these farmers manually, as it is clear from recent discussions with the Department that it could be another two months before the computer programme is ready," he insisted.
Mr Turley described the delay in payments as particularly galling since the AEOS farmers had already incurred significant costs in carrying out works under the scheme.
A Department statement on the AEOS payments stressed that administrative checks on all participants must be completed before individual payments are issued.
"Many applicants re-digitised land parcels in order to join the scheme and until these are finalised it is not possible for compliance checks to be completed," the Department stated.
The Department also confirmed that AEOS inspections were ongoing and would not be completed until the middle of May. Up to 5pc of all participants in AEOS must be inspected.