Existing participants on the Rural Social Scheme will not be subject to the new six year term limit, the new limit only applies to new participants, the Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar, confirmed this week.
The confirmation follows a meeting in Galway between the Minister and local RSS supervisors. At the meeting the scheme supervisors from Connemara expressed concerns regarding term limits and the impact on attracting participants in low population rural areas. The Minister also accepted that in cases where there are no waiting lists, participants could be permitted to stay on the scheme longer than the six years envisaged.
The news has been welcomed by Fine Gael Galway West TD and Minister for Gaeltacht Affairs and Natural Resources, Séan Kyne. He said RSS participants take part in “important community work”.
The scheme’s expansion has seen an extra 55 Rural Social Scheme places for Galway. The additional places are being overseen by Galway Rural Development, Forum Connemara and Comhar na nOileán.