'Give us a fair deal on assets' - farm lobby
Family farms must be declared "non capital assets" to prevent future generations being forced off their homesteads, farm organisations have warned.
Last week, Government sources mooted that farmers may benefit from significantly reduced nursing home fees under radical measures being considered ahead of next month's Budget.
Fundamental changes to the State's Nursing Home Support Scheme, otherwise known as 'Fair Deal', could see the value of farm assets being excluded for the first time.
However, the size of the exemption is unclear. Some Fine Gael sources have suggested 100pc, while others suggest the exemption will be closer to 50pc.
John Comer, President of ICMSA, described reports of changes to be made as "overdue recognition".
"ICMSA has repeatedly pointed out that a farm of land is not a capital asset; it is a means by which the farmer earns his or her income," he said.
In the event of a farmer having to go into a nursing home for a long-stay condition like Alzheimers or dementia, Mr Comer said the lack of an upper limit on the charges the State will make means the whole value of the farm would be "eaten up" by nursing home charge contributionS.
"Unless we see change we'll inevitably arrive at a situation where the next generation of farmers will be forced to borrow to buy back their family farms. That's both unfair and illogical," he said