Farmers feel they are 'halfways there' on sealing nursing home deal

Having a person cared for in a residential home can cost between €50,000 and €80,000 in nursing home fees and associated medical care charges. Stock photo: Getty Images
Having a person cared for in a residential home can cost between €50,000 and €80,000 in nursing home fees and associated medical care charges. Stock photo: Getty Images
ICMSA's Lorcan McCabe. Photo: Kieran Clancy
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

Conditions limiting access to the new nursing home care deal for farmers, in situations where land is leased out, have been described as "unfair".

The changes to the Fair Deal scheme for farmers and business owners have been welcomed by farm lobby groups after sustained campaigning for several years.

A new three-year cap on contributions, based on the percentage of a farmers' assets that will go towards nursing home care, will shave tens of thousands of euro off of the cost for families.

Up to now, the cap has only applied to the family home - but runs indefinitely for farm or business assets.

This has been a major deterrent for these families. Now, the same cap will apply across the board.

However, it is understood the deal will be "conditional" and only apply to farmland and business premises that are used by the family and not leased out to a third party.

If land or premises are leased out, it will then be deemed an "investment asset" and the cap will not apply.

Lorcan McCabe from the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) said they welcomed the cap of three years as a "huge" relief for farmers and it means the farm won't be "eaten away" for many years.

Also Read


"It is a little bit unfair if the farm is leased as maybe the son or daughter or person who gets it is young and has particular reasons to be leasing it. Perhaps they are not up to farming it at that point in their lives," he said.

"For genuine farmers, who are not able to farm it, maybe through health or other reasons, it should be looked at."

The ICMSA pointed out it may result in a person keeping a small number of cattle on the land because of the rule rather than perhaps leasing it to an expanding dairy farmer next door who is looking for more land.

Under the scheme at present, the 7.5pc annual contribution on a principal residence is capped at three years.

However, there is no cap when it comes to farmland or a business premises so the sum can escalate rapidly.

Mr McCabe said they would be having further meetings with Minister for Older People Jim Daly on the legislation, with expectations it could be enacted as early as next September.

In relation to farmland, assets that have been transferred within a five-year period prior to application for the scheme are included in the financial assessment.

Mr McCabe said they feel they got "halfways there" on the deal but would continue to ask Mr Daly that this five-year period for exclusion of the assets be reduced to three years similar to a private house.

Mr Daly is understood to have received legal clearance following months of wrangling over the new deal for nursing home care.

Irish Independent