Government accused of 'slowly snuffing small farmers out of existence'
Changes to the Rural Social Scheme (RSS) have been heavily criticised by Sinn Féin spokesperson on Rural Affairs and Regional Development, Peadar Tóibín.
He says the changes appear to be an initiation of the phasing out of the scheme, as well as discriminating against younger farmers.
Speaking today an Tóibín said the Rural Social Scheme has been a massive support to farmers, both economically and socially.
He said the government has now made changes to the scheme so new entrants have to be at least 25 years old, and cannot avail of the scheme for a period of over six years.
“Previously those who qualified for the scheme could stay on it for a substantial period of time. Now it appears that participants in the scheme will not be able to avail of it for periods longer than three years at a time.
"Quietly and cunningly the government have introduced what are effectively nasty stealth cuts, by the imposition of these stringent conditions," he said.
According to the Sein Fein Deputy payments to the scheme were cut drastically two years ago.
"Now it seems that a phasing out of the scheme has been initiated," he warned.