Exclusive: 'Fairer Deal' for farmers blocked - warning on 'special' deal over nursing homes
A special deal to slash nursing home costs for farmers is in jeopardy following a dramatic intervention by the Office of the Attorney General, the Irish Independent can reveal.
Farmers have long argued for changes to the scheme, saying that it does not lend itself to their asset-rich but cash-poor status, with a review ongoing.
One of the country's most powerful lobby groups, the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA), has demanded sweeping changes to the State's Fair Deal scheme in a bid to the ease the burden of high nursing home costs.
Briefing documents seen by this newspaper detail how the IFA is seeking a suite of measures that will result in 90pc of farm assets being exempted from consideration when it comes to nursing home bills.
The documents also show how the IFA has asked the Government to reduce the period in which the State can means test farm assets before landing families with the bill to care for their elderly.
But it has emerged that the Office of the Attorney General (AG) has now stepped in and warned the Government that any changes to the Fair Deal scheme must not reward farmers over other business owners.
Older People Minister Jim Daly last night confirmed the intervention, telling this newspaper that he will meet the IFA president Joe Healy in the coming weeks to discuss what changes can be implemented.
"This has been going on for far too long. It needs to be brought to a conclusion," Mr Daly told this newspaper.