Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Niamh Smyth says the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection must ensure that all places on the Rural Social Scheme are filled.

There are still places on the RSS across the two development companies in Cavan and Monaghan.

Deputy Smyth said, “I welcomed the expansion of Rural Social Scheme earlier this year, which saw additional places rolled out across the board.  However, it appears that the take up on places has been sluggish.  At the end of March, Breffni Integrated Ltd in Cavan was allocated 105 places, but to date only 87 people have signed up.  It’s a similar situation in Monaghan Integrated Development Ltd, with 72 places available and only 56 filled to date.

“This low take up level is a cause for concern, and it’s being replicated right around the country – nationally there are nearly 7,000 people receiving Farm Assist, but 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.

“There appears to be an information gap, as I have had people contacting my office looking to take up a place on the RSS and not realising that additional places have been made available.  This recruitment drive must be ramped up and there needs to be more awareness of additional places that have been allocated.

“The RSS provides huge support to communities, businesses and individuals in rural parts of Cavan and Monaghan and is an essential part of the economic landscape here.  I am calling on Minister Doherty to ensure that these places are filled so that the scheme can be successfully rolled out”.