Farm Ireland

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Rural TDs demand a new 'Fair Deal' for nursing home care

Investors are not encouraged to enter the nursing home market thanks to the low level of ‘Fair Deal’ support.
Investors are not encouraged to enter the nursing home market thanks to the low level of ‘Fair Deal’ support.
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

THE Government must follow through on promises to remove the "discriminatory" rules penalising farm families under the Fair Deal scheme, a TD has warned.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath said the promises given by Minister of State at the Department of Health, Helen McEntee, must be made a reality despite any potential cabinet reshuffle.

"We accept the bona fides of Minister McEntee's commitment to this issue, a commitment that we want to see ringfenced and implemented regardless of any leadership changes in the Fine Gael party," said Mr McGrath.

The motion was brought forward in the Dail by the Rural Independent Group to seek a reduced charge on the farm business assets similar to the 90pc agricultural relief rate. Mr McGrath warned the current situation saw farmers having to sell off parts of the farm to pay high nursing home bills.

The motion that received strong support in the Dail last week sought the long-awaited review to be published swiftly. In addition it wants the time an asset needs to be transferred to another person before entering a nursing home changed from five to three years under new legislation.

The ICMSA has warned changes to the scheme were long overdue, with the scheme for the most part unworkable for farmers.

ICSA rural development chairman Seamus Sherlock said farmers just want to be "treated like everyone else" under the scheme.

"My experience is that many farmers are suffering alone and in silence as committing to the Fair Deal scheme could eventually lead to the sale of their farm to pay for nursing home fees," he said.

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