Recruitment and filling of places for new applicants to the Rural Social Scheme (RSS) needs to be accelerated, according to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Regional, Rural, Gaeltacht & Island Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív.
The RSS provides a weekly social welfare payment of €220.50 for active farmers who provide 19.5 hours of work in their rural area.
“Earlier this year, the Rural Social Scheme was expanded, with the total number of participants increasing to 3,350,” Deputy Ó Cuív said.
I will be continuing to press this issue with Minister Doherty
“At the time of the announcement, there were 2,948 participants on the scheme and I am growing increasingly concerned about the low level of take up since then.”
This year's 250 new RSS places follow the allocation of 500 new places in the previous year's budget after a 10-year freeze.
Ó Cuív has called on the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, to accelerate recruitment to the RSS.
“Despite the fact that there are nearly 7,000 people receiving Farm Assist, the number of people on the Rural Social Scheme has only increased by 22 participants to 2,970 since March. This means that there are still 380 places available on the Rural Social Scheme,” Ó Cuív said.
“My office has been contacted by numerous people seeking to secure a place on the Rural Social Scheme. It is imperative that the recruitment process is accelerated so that these additional places are filled and people can begin undertaking this important work.
“I will be continuing to press this issue with Minister Doherty to ensure that the scheme is efficiently rolled out over the coming months.”
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