Government Chief Whip and Minister of State for Gaeilge, Gaeltacht and the Islands Joe McHugh TD, announced that 25 extra places will be allocated on the Rural Social Scheme in County Donegal.
The new places will provide support to more low-income farmers and fishermen, enabling them to carry out valuable community-based work and thereby helping to deliver on a Programme for Government commitment to rural Ireland.
Minister McHugh 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 25 places will be made available in Donegal under the Scheme.
“It will be delivered at local level here by both Donegal Local Development Co. Ltd and Údarás na Gaeltachta.
“This is part of a national allocation of 250 extra places as announced by my Fine Gael Colleague, Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty.
“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 as well as community groups here in Donegal.
“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 here in our local communities.”
The Minister added: “The RSS has established itself at the centre of rural life here in our county. 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 locally on projects such as 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 project and helping non-profit cultural and heritage centres.Tags: