Local IFA representatives have met with Oireachtas members in Carrick-on-Shannon to highlight the need for a meaningful AEOS 3 scheme to be introduced.
In a meeting with local Fine Gael Deputy, Frank Feighan, on Saturday, members of the Co Leitrim IFA said that there was a real need for a proper scheme to be established.
The IFA representatives said that REPS constituted a major source of income, especially in Sligo and Leitrim where nearly 800 farmers have lost their REPS 3 payments.
They noted the payments were worth in the region of €5m and their loss had a devastating effect on the economies of both counties.
At a recent meeting with the IFA Minister Coveney indicated he was considering introducing a limited scheme shortly which would apply only in SACs and the commonage areas.
The IFA has rejected this plan and is now calling for the introduction of a meaningful AEOS 3 scheme for 6,000 farmers with a maximum payment of €5,000.
A statement issued by the IFA said that the funding for the new scheme would not arise until 2013 and would be supported from unspent money in the EU Rural Development plan as well as a reduction in the cost of REPS and delaying some second tranche 25% payments for REPS 4, AEOS 1 and 2 in 2013.
The IFA said that it was clear some EU funding under the CAP Rural Development plan will remain unspent as it draws to a close in 2013 and there was also under spending across some measures and Leader due to reduced investment on projects.
“IFA propose that all EU Funding is fully utilised for an AEOS 3 scheme. This scheme must open shortly with contracts beginning in January 2013,” they said.