Minister Doherty announces details of 250 extra Rural Social Scheme places


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Today (Friday, 23rd March 2018) Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty T.D. announced details of where the 250 extra places on the Rural Social Scheme (RSS), which were part of the last Budget, will be allocated. The new places will provide support for an additional 250 low-income farmers and fishermen to carry out valuable community-based work, thereby helping to deliver on a Programme for Government commitment to rural Ireland. 

 

Announcing the increase, Minister Doherty said: "At the outset, I would first like to reiterate my support, and that of the Government, for the Rural Social Scheme. In recognition of the valuable work undertaken in rural communities under the RSS, I am very pleased to announce that an additional 250 places will be made available under the Scheme. Overall this represents an increase of over 28% in the places available under the RSS in the past two years – from 2,600 to 3,350.

 

“Since the RSS was launched in 2004, it has delivered a range of positive benefits for both participants and their local communities. The RSS has become a key aspect of community action in many rural areas and is popular with both participants and local sponsors/community groups. While communities benefit from the skills and talents of local farmers and fishermen, participants also have the opportunity to improve existing skills, or develop new skills, while performing valuable work in their local communities.”

 

The Minister added: “The RSS has established itself at the centre of rural life in communities throughout the country. Significantly, it also supports participants to remain involved in farming or fishing in their local areas. It shows the Government’s ongoing commitment to supporting and sustaining rural Ireland.”

 

The work carried out under the Scheme helps to support countless sports clubs, community services and rural facilities. It is also an important source of extra income to farmers and fishermen who may be working in agriculture or fishing on a part-time basis and who have a low 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 there are a higher representation of farm assist recipients.  Participants work on the following type of projects:

 
  • Caretaking at community and sporting facilities
  • Energy conservation work for the elderly and the less well off
  • Village and countryside enhancement projects
  • Looking after waymarked ways, agreed walks and bog roads across Ireland
  • 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 at a local level by 36 Implementing Bodies (IBs) - 35 Local Development Companies and Údarás na Gaeltachta in the Gaeltacht areas.

 

A request for expressions of interest for the additional RSS places was issued to all 36 Implementing Bodies. Replies were received from 26 of the IBs plus a request from one Local Development Company who had not previously administered the RSS. Ten companies have not sought any additional places. Although the request for additional places was significantly oversubscribed, all companies who requested places will be given additional places. This is the first time places will be available to low income farmers and fishermen in County Dublin, with an allocation of six places to Fingal Leader Partnership. 

 

Participants must be actively farming or fishing with an underlying entitlement to a qualifying DEASP payment, such as Farm Assist, in order to be eligible. Most participants receive a weekly payment of €198 a week* (equal to the maximum personal rate on Farm Assist) 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 Implementing Body for any further information, or for an application form.

 

Table 1 - Breakdown of the additional 250 RSS places by County

 

County

No of RSS Places

Carlow

3

Cavan

8

Clare

12

Cork

12

Donegal

25

Dublin

6

Galway

47

Kerry

8

Kildare

2

Leitrim

10

Limerick

20

Louth

2

Mayo

44

Meath

2

Monaghan

10

Offaly

10

Roscommon

10

Sligo

10

Westmeath

2

Wicklow

2

Other - Islands

5

 Total

250

 
 

Table 2- Additional 250 RSS places by Implementing Body

 

Rural Social Scheme  Implementing Body

Current RSS Participants Quota

Proposed additional RSS places 

 Revised 2017 RSS allocation

Galway Rural Development Co Ltd

188

30

218

South West Mayo Development Co Ltd

216

24

240

Donegal Local Development Co Ltd

122

20

142

Údarás na Gaeltachta **

497

15

512

Mayo Nth East Leader Part Co Teo

251

15

266

Forum Connemara Ltd

24

12

36

Clare Local Dev Co Ltd

143

12

155

Ballyhoura Development Limited

53

10

63

Co Sligo Leader Partnership Company

138

10

148

West Limerick Resources

40

10

50

Leitrim Integrated Dev Co Ltd

121

10

131

Monaghan Integrated Development Ltd

62

10

72

Offaly Integrated Local Dev Co Ltd

57

10

67

Roscommon Integrated Dev Co Ltd

167

10

177

Breffni Integrated Ltd

97

8

105

South Kerry Development Part Ltd

159

8

167

Fingal Leader Partnership

0

6

6

IRD Duhallow Ltd

69

5

74

Comhar na nOileán Teo.

25

5

30

West Cork Development Part Ltd

79

5

84

Carlow Co Development Part Ltd

22

3

25

Westmeath Community Development Ltd

40

2

42

Avondhu Blackwater Partnership Ltd

20

2

22

Cill Dara ar Aghaidh Teo

25

2

27

Co Wicklow Community Partnerhip

23

2

25

Louth Community Resources

14

2

16

Meath Community Rural & Social Dev

20

2

22

East Cork Area Development

20

0

20

Inishowen Rural Development Ltd

42

0

42

Longford Community Resources

65

0

65

Waterford Leader Partnership Ltd

15

0

15

County Kilkenny Leader Partnership

24

0

24

Laois Community & Enterprise Dev Co

29

0

29

Nth & East Kerry Leader Part Teo

102

0

102

North Tipperary Leader Partnership

44

0

44

South Tipperary Development Co

37

0

37

Wexford Local Development Ltd

50

0

50

Total

3100

250

3350

 

** The 15 extra places to Údarás na Gaeltachta is broken down as follows: Mayo 5,Donegal 5, Galway 5.

ENDS

*Note:
The 2018 Welfare package will deliver a minimum increase of €5 in the personal rate of all weekly payments on employment programmes such as Rural Social scheme. A €2 increase for each qualified dependent child will also be applied – the first such increase since 2010.  Dependent adults will receive a proportionate increase. These measures take effect from the week commencing 26th March 2018. 

 
Last modified:23/03/2018