O’Reilly Welcomes New Rural Social Scheme Places for Cavan/Monaghan

The Minister for Social Protection, Dr. Leo Varadkar TD,  announced details of 500 extra Rural Social Scheme places. The 500 additional places brings the total number from 2,600 to 3,100. This is the first increase in places since 2006 in scheme to support farmers, fishermen & local communities.


Additional RSS places in this Constituency:


Rural Social Scheme  Implementing Body Current RSS Participants Quota Proposed additional RSS places   Revised 2017 RSS allocation
Monaghan Integrated Development Ltd 40 22 62
Breffni Integrated Ltd, Cavan 80 17 97


That is a total of 39 additional RSS places for Cavan & Monaghan. This brings the total RSS places in Cavan to 97 and Monaghan to 62.


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 basis, or and 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 Farm Assist payment of €188 a week (equal to  the maximum personal rate on Farm Assist) (rising to €193 from Mid-March),, and an additional €22.500 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.


I am delighted to welcome this news and have at all times been a strong advocate for the Rural Social Scheme.




Senator Joe O'Reilly representing Cavan & Monaghan 2010. | An ExSite website