SIPTU has condemned the plan by the Department of Social Protection to redefine the operation of the the Rural Social Scheme (RSS), making it into a job activation measure, as a further attack on rural Ireland. SIPTU Organiser, Noreen Parker, said: “Rural Social Schemes were created to supplement the earnings of farmers and those involved in the fishing industry with low incomes. This is done with the aim of promoting the social and personal development of its participants. The RSS is not a labour activation scheme, it is a social scheme which supports local communities in disadvantaged and marginalised rural areas. To redefine it as a job activation measure is likely to undermine its operation and effectiveness."SIPTU RSS National Committee member, Martin Collins, said: “We are asking the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, to protect the RSS Scheme. It is the only rural income support scheme and to change its aim into job activation, and away from social support, will amount to a further attack on marginalised rural communities and rural Ireland as a whole.”