I have warned the Taoiseach that the Rural Social Schemes (RSS) as it presently exists will be lost to local communities and the participants if the 6-year rule for new participants is not removed immediately.

“In Galway East if the 6-year rule is left in place will lose 110 participants.

This would mean that many communities, sports facilities, community centres and voluntary organisations would lose participants and these places would regress rapidly.

The extent of the services delivered through the RSS is enormous and it is important to have continuity for all concerned.

The Scheme was introduced as an income support for farm families and as such new participants should be left on the scheme until they reach 66 years.

The Taoiseach has committed to speaking with the Minister for Social Protection with a view to finding a solution to this crisis in the RSS Scheme”.