Minister Coveney urged to extend agri-environment scheme into 2014 to fill ‘gap’

On Thursday 17 October 2013, the Environmental Pillar sent the following letter to Minister Coveney:
Dear Minister Coveney,
Your intention, as we understand the reporting of it, is not to extend support for farmers coming out of REP4 or AEOS in to 2014. This is part of an attempt to save money and will impact on up to 13,000 farming families.
A “gap year” in the scheme will, most likely, lead to multiple breaches of environmental directives in terms of habitat destruction.
As members of the Environmental Pillar, we have just returned from a meeting with DG AGRI in Brussels. Mr Krzysztof Sulima informs us that an agreement is in place whereby AEOS schemes can be funded in 2014 under the existing criteria, from the 2015 budget.
DG AGRI advised us that all other member states are availing of this funding opportunity.
Given this information, that the funding is available from Europe to continue to provide the financial support to farmers on these schemes, can you please avail of it?
This matter needs your urgent attention.
Kind Regards,
Cillian Lohan
Convenor of Agriculture Working Group
Environmental Pillar