The Rural Social Scheme (RSS) is an income support scheme for farmers and fishermen/women. The scheme provides paid employment opportunities to participants in their local communities.

What type of work is carried out by people participating in the Scheme?
The type of work carried out by RSS participants includes:

  • Maintaining and enhancing various walking routes (that is, waymarked ways, agreed walks) and bog roads
  • Energy conservation work for older people and those at risk of poverty
  • Village and countryside enhancement projects
  • Social care and care of older people
  • Community care for pre-school and after-school groups
  • Environmental maintenance work – maintenance and caretaking of community and sporting facilities
  • Projects relating to not-for-profit cultural and heritage centres
  • Community administration or clerical work
  • Any other appropriate community-based project

Qualifying Criteria
To qualify as a participant on the Rural Social Scheme you must be in receipt of one of the following social welfare payments;

  • Farm Assist
    If you are actively farming or fishing you may qualify for the scheme if you are getting one of the following social welfare payments:
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Jobseeker’s Transitional payment
  • Disability Allowance
  • One-Parent Family Payment
  • Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Contributory Pension or Widow’s,Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Non-Contributory Pension
  • Increase for a Qualified Adult under 66 years of age as part of your spouse, cohabitant or civil partner’s State Pension (Non-Contributory)


How many hours’ work is involved and how long does the Scheme last?
You work 19.5 hours per week. These hours are based on a farmer/fisher-friendly schedule. This is to ensure participation on the scheme does not affect your farming/fishing activities. If you get a place on the Scheme, you are offered a contract from your start date up to the following 31 March. You may be considered for a further term following the initial contract, if you continue to meet all the criteria for the Scheme.
The local management decides on your application. Since 1 February 2017, the time limit for participation for new entrants to the scheme will not exceed 6 years. If you are eligible for the Scheme but don’t wish to participate, your dependent spouse, civil
partner or cohabitant may take the available place. However, this is only if neither of you are participating in any other similar scheme, (for example, the Community Employment Scheme.)

If you think you may qualify for a place on the Rural Social Scheme or if you require any further information please contact the Tus/RSS Coordinator John Healy 087 9344150 email: