Varadkar announces details of 500 extra Rural Social Scheme places

First increase in places since 2006 in scheme to support farmers, fishermen & local communities

Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar has announced details of where the 500 extra places on the Rural Social Scheme for farmers and fishermen will be allocated.

The increase brings the total number from 2,600 to 3,100. It’s the first increase since 2006 when the numbers increased by 100 from 2,500 to 2,600.

“I am a big fan of the Rural Social Scheme. It provides an opportunity to farmers and fishermen to make off-farm income in areas where there are few opportunities to do so, brings money into rural and coastal communities and gets valuable work done on the ground. I am very pleased to be in a position to allocate 500 additional places around the country and if successful, I will seek extra places for 2018. This move forms an important part of the Government’s commitment to rural Ireland and ensures that all parts of the country and people from all walks of life benefit from the economic recovery,” Minister Varadkar said.

“The Scheme is popular with participants and in the communities, which benefit from their talents. It also gives participants an opportunity to improve their existing skills, or develop new skills, while performing valuable work in their local communities. And significantly, it also supports participants to stay involved in farming or fishing in their local area. I’m delighted that we can expand the scheme for the first time since 2006 thanks to Budget 2017. It shows the Government’s ongoing commitment to rural Ireland.”

The work carried out under the Scheme helps to support countless sports clubs, community services and rural facilities. But it’s also an important source of extra income to farmers and fishermen who may be working in agriculture or fishing on a part-time basisand find it difficult to maintain a decent income. It also gives them an opportunity to develop new skills. Participants provide 19.5 hours a week on a local rural or community project in a return for a top-up on their social welfare payments.

The Scheme is especially important in the west, north-west and south of Ireland, where participants work on the following type of projects:

• Looking after waymarked ways, agreed walks and bog roads;
• Caretaking at community and sporting facilities;
• Energy conservation work for the elderly and the less well off;
• Village and countryside enhancement projects;
• Social care and care of the elderly such as meals on wheels;
• Community care for pre-school and after-school groups;
• Environmental maintenance work such as Tidy Towns projects;
• Helping non-profit cultural and heritage centres.

The extra places will strengthen the Rural Social Scheme by supporting more farming and fishing families on low incomes. The Scheme is delivered through 35 Implementing Bodies or Local Development Companies, and Údarás na Gaeltachta.

Participants must be actively farming or fishing with an underlying entitlement to a qualifying Department of Social Protection payment, such as Farm Assist, in order to be eligible. Most participants receive a weekly payment of €188 a week (equal to the maximum personal rate on Farm Assist) (rising to €193 from Mid-March), and an additional €22.50 top-up per week under the Rural Social Scheme.

Participation is voluntary and is dependent on the availability of vacancies in the relevant locality. As this scheme is administered on a local level by Implementing Bodies on behalf of the Department, a person should, in all instances, contact their local Development Company for any further information, or for an application form.

 

RSS Breakdown by County
County Current Allocation New Allocation
Carlow 18 22
Cavan 80 97
Clare 117 143
Cork 171 210
Donegal 227 308
Dublin 0 0
Galway 275 325
Kerry 267 304
Kildare 22 25
Kilkenny 19 24
Laois 25 29
Leitrim 100 121
Limerick 83 93
Longford 55 65
Louth 10 14
Mayo 562 641
Meath 17 21
Monaghan 40 62
Offaly 52 57
Roscommon 149 167
Sligo 124 138
Tipperary 63 81
Waterford 12 15
Westmeath 33 40
Wexford 39 50
Wicklow 20 23
Islands 20 25
Total 2600 3100

 

Additional 500 RSS places

Rural Social Scheme  Implementing Body Current RSS Participants Quota  Proposed additional RSS places   Revised 2017 RSS allocation
Údarás na Gaeltachta * 437 60 497
Donegal Local Development Co Ltd 76 46 122
Galway Rural Development Co Ltd 156 32 188
Mayo Nth East Leader Part Co Teo 221 30 251
Clare Local Dev Co Ltd 117 26 143
South West Mayo Development Co Ltd 191 25 216
Monaghan Integrated Development Ltd 40 22 62
South Kerry Development Part CLG 138 21 159
Leitrim Integrated Dev Co Ltd 100 21 121
Roscommon Integrated Dev Co Ltd 149 18 167
Breffni Integrated Ltd, Cavan 80 17 97
Co Sligo Leader Partnership Company 124 14 138
Nth & East Kerry Leader Part Teo 89 13 102
East Cork Area Development 8 12 20
Inishowen Rural Development Ltd 30 12 42
IRD Duhallow Ltd 58 11 69
West Cork Development Part Ltd 68 11 79
South Tipperary Development Co 26 11 37
Wexford Local Development Ltd 39 11 50
Longford Community Resources 55 10 65
Forum Connemara Ltd 14 10 24
Westmeath Community Development Ltd 33 7 40
North Tipperary Leader Partnership 37 7 44
Ballyhoura Development Limited 47 6 53
County Kilkenny Leader Partnership 19 5 24
Offaly Integrated Local Dev Co Ltd 52 5 57
Comhar na nOileán Teo. 20 5 25
West Limerick Resources 36 4 40
Carlow Co Development Part Ltd 18 4 22
Laois Community & Enterprise Dev Co 25 4 29
Louth Community Resources 10 4 14
Meath Community Rural & Social Dev 16 4 20
Waterford Leader Partnership Ltd 12 3 15
Avondhu Blackwater Partnership Ltd 17 3 20
Co Wicklow Community Partnership 20 3 23
County Kildare Leader Partnership 22 3 25
       
Total 2,600 500 3,100
* The 60 extra places to Údarás na Gaeltachta is broken down as follows:

Mayo 24,

Donegal 23,

Galway 8,

Cork 2,

Kerry 3.

 

 

 

ENDS