Farmers 'don't want special treatment from Fair Deal'
The body representing farmers has rejected claims that its members are seeking special treatment out of the review into the 'Fair Deal' scheme.
The Government is set to announce a major overhaul in the coming weeks of 'Fair Deal' - the State-sponsored scheme that provides support for nursing home patients.
The review, being led by the new Minister for Older People Jim Daly, is expected to lead to reduced costs for nursing home care for farmers and small businesses.
However, there is now major concern within Government over the prospect of legal action in the event of the farmers getting a better deal than small business owners.
The Irish Independent revealed last week that the office of the Attorney General (AG) has stepped in to examine the Government's proposals amid fears that legal action could be taken.
Aside from the potential legal ramifications, the Programme for Government states that the coalition intends to "remove discrimination against small business and family farms under the Fair Deal Nursing Home Scheme".
But last night, the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) insisted that it is not seeking to be prioritised over small businesses.
Maura Canning, the head of the IFA's Farm Family and Social Affairs Committee, told the Irish Independent that its members appreciate the need to ensure all businesses - not just farmers - are treated equally.