Rural Social Scheme

The Rural Social Scheme from wcdpfilms on Vimeo.

Are you a Farmer or Fisherman?
Are you seeking part-time work?
Have you heard about the Rural Social Scheme?

The Rural Social Scheme provides community-based work on a part-time basis to both farmers and fishermen.

The Rural Social Scheme aims to provide services to rural communities by harnessing the skills and talents available in the farming and fishing communities.

Participants work 19.5 hours per week and these hours are based on a farmer/fisherman-friendly schedule.

How to qualify

To qualify a farmer/fisherman must have an active herd number or a relevant fishing license or a fishing boat that has been entered in the Register of Fishing Boats.

The farmer/fisherman must also be in receipt of a Social Welfare Payment for example : Farm Assist, Fish Assist, Jobseekers Allowance, Disability Allowance, One-Parent Family Payment, Widow(ers) Pension, both Contributory and Non-Contributory or be under 66 and a Qualified Adult Dependant of a recipient of the Non-Contributory Old Age Pension.

Should you be deemed eligible to qualify but you yourself do not wish to participate in the RSS, your spouse, child or sibling can take the available place.


With effect from 17th September 2012, the method of calculating payments on the RSS were amended to bring them in line with those paid on the community employment programme and Tús, the community work placement initiative. All new participants on the scheme from this date onwards are paid the equivalent of their existing rate of social welfare payment plus a top-up of €22.50, with a minimum payment of €215.50 being awarded for those joining the scheme with an existing social welfare payment rate of €193 or less per week. The payment is therefore determined by the amount of the original qualifying social welfare payment, as follows subject to a minimum payment of €215.50 per week. This is regardless of dependants and exclusive of Fuel Allowance.

Where the actual amount of the social welfare payment is less than or equal to €188 per week prior to joining the scheme, the payment of €210.50 applies. Where the amount of the social welfare payment is greater than €188 per week prior to joining the scheme, the payment on the scheme is the equivalent of that amount plus €22.50 per week. (There are some exceptions to this).

Participants are paid on a weekly basis.

Participants are entitled to retain certain secondary benefits, such as medical card, fuel allowance, back-to-school clothing and footwear allowance, etc.

The types of projects carried out under the RSS include:

  • Maintaining and enhancing waymarked ways, agreed walks and bog roads,
  • Energy conservation work for the elderly and the less well off – the Department has recently decided to allow Groups, who deliver the Rural Social Scheme to become engaged in the delivery of the Warmer
  • Homes Scheme and any other energy conservation scheme.
  • Village and countryside enhancement projects,
  • Social care and care of the elderly, community care for both 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 

Sample of West Cork Community Groups Involved:

Adrigole Family Resource Centre, Ballineen Pitch and Putt, Ballydehob Community Council, Baltimore Tidy Town, Bantry Adult Learning, Bantry Bay Users Forum, Castlehaven GAA, Clonakilty AFC, Co-Action Skibbereen, Co-Action Castletownbere, Drinah Community Association, Goleen & District Community Council, Gabriel Rangers GAA, Leap & Glandore Community Council, Macroom GAA, Macroom Tidy Towns, Muintir Bhaire Community Council, Skibbereen Heritage Centre, Croi na Laoi, Barryroe GAA, Oysterhaven/Nohoval Residents Association, Union Hall Development Association, Timoleague Community Council, Muintir Bhaire Community Council, West Cork Warmer Homes Scheme

Number of Participants: 68 (capped for time being)
Males: 60 Females: 8
Farmers: 57 Fishermen: 11
Number of Supervisors:

Full time : 3

Brian O’Leary (Macroom, Dunmanway, Ballineen and environs);

Finbarr Santry (The Mizen, Clonakilty, Kinsale and environs)

Catherine Harrington (Bantry, Skibbereen and environs)

Part time : 1 Michael O Neill (Beara and environs)

If you are interested in finding out more please contact any of the supervisors above or  Arran O’ Driscoll, West Cork Development Partnership, West Cork Technology Park, Clonakilty, Co. Cork. Tel: 023/8834035, Email: