The Rural Social Scheme (RSS) is a community-based employment scheme designed to provide an income support to low-income farmers and fishermen/women. 

The scheme matches the skillset of participants with the needs of community voluntary groups. 

South West Mayo Development Company manages the Rural Social Scheme in south and west Mayo on behalf of the Department of Social Protection (DSP). 

To qualify as an RSS participant, you must be actively farming or fishing and in receipt of a social welfare payment. 

If a farmer is eligible for the RSS but does not want to participate, their dependent spouse, civil partner or cohabitant, brother, sister may take the available place. However, this is only if they are not participating on any other similar scheme. The most up-to-date information can be found here: 

The rates of payment for new participants on the RSS depends on your qualifying social welfare payment. RSS participants work 19.5 hours per week and these hours are organised on a Farmer and Fisherman/woman friendly basis. This is to ensure participation on the scheme does not impact negatively on your farming or fishing activities. 

If you are successful in getting an RSS placement, you will be offered a contract from your start date up to the following 31 March. You may be considered for a further term if you continue to meet the scheme criteria. 

If you are a community-based organisation interested in Rural Social Scheme support, you will find the most up-to-date information here: 


The type of work carried out by RSS participants includes: 

  • Maintaining and enhancing various walking routes (that is, waymarked ways, agreed walks) 
  • Energy conservation work for older people and those at risk of poverty 
  • Village and countryside enhancement projects 
  • Social care and care of older people 
  • Community care for pre-school and after-school groups 
  • Environmental maintenance work
  • Maintenance and caretaking of community and sporting facilities 
  • Projects relating to not-for-profit cultural and heritage centres 
  • Community administration or clerical work 
  • Any other appropriate community-based project 

SMWDC implements the RSS in south and west Mayo, excluding Gaeltacht areas. 

For more informationplease contact: 

RSS & Tús Office (Balla) Kevin Cunniffekcunniffe@southmayo.com087 9731096 / 094 9366692
Balla / Breaffy / Belcarra / Straide Frank McNeela  087 2196932
Castlebar / Islandeady / Balla / Parke / TurloughMartina 087 7937071
Claremorris / Ballindine / Irishtown / BrickensPatricia 087 1306945
Cong / Cross / Glencorrib / Ballinrobe Gabrielle Clesham gclesham@southmayo.com087 9331189
Kilmaine / Ballinrobe / ShrulePadraic Corcoranpcorcoran@southmayo.com087 2196924
Louisburgh / Killeen / Killawalla / AughagowerMaura Murphymmurphy@southmayo.com087 1983863
Louisburgh/Murrisk/Lecanvey  Mark Reed mreed@southmayo.com087 2263313
Mayo Abbey / Roundfort / Taugheen / RobeenChristina  087 2196928
Newport / Mulranny / Kilmeena / Burrishoole Noel Mulroy nmulroy@southmayo.com087 6305544