IFA Rural Development Chairman Joe Brady has described proposed changes to the terms and conditions of the Rural Social Scheme (RSS) for the 500 additional places announced in Budget 2017 as unacceptable.
He said the proposed changes could lead to a downgrading of the scheme in the long-term.
Joe Brady said the proposal to impose a three-year limit on any farmer who takes up one of the 500 new places on the scheme as a retrograde step as the RSS must operate in a flexible manner and give certainty to those farmers who partake in it.
The IFA Rural Development Chairman said the decision in Budget 2017 to increase the number of places on the scheme was very welcome but the proposed three-year rule, along with limiting the minimum age to 25, will undermine this progress.
Joe Brady called on the Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar to change the proposal and to match the terms and conditions of the 2,600 participants already in the scheme.