Offaly TD Carol Nolan backs move to extend Rural Social Scheme and Tús eligibility
Speaking today from her constituency, Offaly-North Tipperary TD Carol Nolan said that she is supportive of the call to extend participation in both the Rural Social Scheme and Tús.
Deputy Nolan said that “there is merit in abolishing the six year limit for people over 55, and in broadening the eligibility to participate to extended farm family members."
"There are also many people who would benefit from a second year on Tús to broaden their skill base and enhance their employability," she added.
Both the Rural Social Scheme and Tús have been subjected to proposed budgetary constraints and workforce reductions in recent times. There was also criticism of their exclusion from JobPath options, a restriction which was recently lifted by the Minister for Enterprise and Social Protection.
In response to these changes, Deputy Nolan stated, “I very much welcome Minister Doherty’s inclusion of these Schemes as a JobPath options. For many low-income farmers and fishermen these Schemes are the best fit for their circumstances."
She tempered that by saying, "I am however concerned that in some areas of high demand for RSS and Tús places that there are inadequate places allocated."
"It is important therefore that counties with the greatest workforce capacity are allocated adequate places, especially those counties with the lowest levels of job creation. I am also keen to see the limitation for participation of the over 55’s removed."
Carol continued: "As we are evermore promoting active participation in mainstream employment to older people, it is an unjust discrimination to limit the productivity of older people who are engaged in supported work programmes.”
Deputy Nolan concluded, “I would also like to see eligibility for participation in the RSS scheme extended to nieces and nephews of the herd owner where such family members are engaged in working on the farm."
"The sustainability of small subsistence farms often engages the labour of extended family members, but is insufficient to provide an adequate income. These farm labourers should be eligible for participation in the Rural Social Scheme, thus ensuring their retention in the locality for farming work.”
The inclusion of Scheme participation for JobPath is due to commence in June of this year. Anyone interested in participating in RSS or Tús can contact their local Intreo Office or Offaly Local Development Company.
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