Thursday, 12 July 2012

Questions (139)

Paul Connaughton


138 Deputy Paul J. Connaughton asked the Minister for Social Protection if the number of places on rural social schemes in County Galway will be increased as the schemes are proving an invaluable source of employment for many people in the country and great work is being carried out for local communities by participants on the scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34149/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Social Protection)

The purpose of the rural social scheme is to provide income support for farmers and fisherpersons who have an entitlement to specified social welfare payments. Persons are engaged for 19.5 hours per week to provide certain services of benefit to rural communities. The rural social scheme currently provides work opportunities for around 2,600 participants and 130 supervisory staff. I have no plans to increase the number of places available on this scheme. The funds allocated for 2012 amount to €45.66m, which should enable the scheme to continue as in previous years but does not allow for the recruitment of additional participants above the numbers stated above. These funds meet the pay costs of participants and supervisors, provision of materials, insurance, health and safety, training and related operational costs.