Minister for Social Protection Éamon Ó Cuív said yesterday that the participants of his Department’s Rural Social Scheme have been requested to prioritise weather-related work as long as the current cold period continues.
“During the very cold weather at the start of the year, Rural Social Scheme participants responded within their rural communities to weather-related difficulties which impacted particularly on older people,” Minister Ó Cuív said. “At that time, Rural Social Scheme participants made it their priority to support the vulnerable and isolated within their localities. They assisted in a number of ways including gritting footpaths and housing estates, cutting and delivering firewood, supplying fresh water, buying and delivering groceries, picking up prescriptions and, in some areas, providing a friendly call service to those living in isolation.
“Rural Social Scheme participants are now once again engaging in these tasks,” he added. “As the scheme is a locally-based programme its participants can be quickly redeployed to respond flexibly to local priorities. Utilising the 2,600 RSS workers is a very effective way of providing these services particularly because of their local knowledge and first-hand experience of rural conditions.”