My Department offers a wide range of employment initiatives including Community Employment (CE), Tús and the Rural Social Scheme (RSS) which provide income support and activation supports catering for long-term unemployed jobseekers and those most distant from the labour market. As the economic recovery takes hold and the overall level of unemployment continues to fall, numbers on the schemes are being kept under on-going review by my Department.
However, the Deputy will be aware that an additional 250 RSS places were announced earlier this week in Budget 2018. This will bring the total number of places available on the RSS to 3,350. The RSS is an important support to rural communities and provides part-time employment opportunities in local community and voluntary organisations for farmers or fishermen in receipt of certain social welfare payments and underemployed in their primary occupation. The work undertaken is primarily to support local service provision via community, voluntary and not-for-profit organisations. The additional places will be allocated over the coming weeks with a view to getting them rolled out as quickly as possible.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.