Farm Ireland

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Three-year Fair Deal cap 'will help farmers to plan ahead'

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

The proposed three-year cap on contributions from farms in the Fair Deal scheme will provide certainty to farmers and allow them to plan ahead, the IFA has said.

The new deal is set to save farmers thousands of euro in nursing home fees under a Budget deal that will protect their farm and business assets for the first time.

Under the current scheme, families pay a 7.5pc annual contribution on their principal residence for a maximum of three years.

However, the three-year cap does not apply to farmland or business premises - meaning the financial burden facing farmers and business owners is much greater.

Following a meeting with IFA president Joe Healy last week, Minister for Older People Jim Daly announced that he planned to put in place the same three-year cap on assets once he gets approval from the Attorney General and the Cabinet.

Speaking following the meeting, Mr Healy said: "A cap will help to provide some certainty for farm families and would allow them to plan knowing the full potential liability on the farm asset.

"The new cap must apply to all farm assets, similar to the charge on private principle residence."

ICSA's Seamus Sherlock also welcomed the proposal, as currently there is a "deep-seated fear" of the Fair Deal scheme in rural Ireland.

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"We always believed that a three-year cap was the most equitable solution for farming families," he said.

"As the scheme currently stands, perfectly viable farms could be rendered unviable because of the inherent unfairness built into the scheme."

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