Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (892)

Michael Ring


1012 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the details of the guidelines for the rural social scheme for farmers; the qualifying criteria; and if participants will be able to retain their farm assist payments in conjunction with being on the rural social scheme. [1798/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs)

The aim of the scheme, as outlined in the Budget Statement, is to provide directly improved rural services and at the same time to ensure an income for small farmers on long-term social welfare benefits with a working week compatible with farming. Based on the funding being made available it is planned to offer up to 2,500 places on the scheme.

It is planned that to be eligible to participate on the scheme a person must be on farm assist or possess a herd number and be in receipt of unemployment assistance, unemployment benefit, if previously on community employment schemes, or disability allowance.

Guidelines for the scheme, including detailed criteria for participation, are currently being developed by my Department.

Question No. 1013 answered with Question No. 1007.