Farm Ireland

Saturday 17 February 2018

Not so fair deal for farmers

Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

Contributions charged against farm holdings under the 'Fair Deal' Nursing Home Supports Scheme are disproportionately heavy when compared to those levied against private residences, the ICMSA has claimed.

While the charges the State can recoup for nursing home care under the Fair Deal are capped at 22.5pc of the value of an elderly person's principle private residence, the ICMSA pointed out that no such limit exists in the case of farms.

Under the Fair Deal package, the cost of nursing home care is jointly funded by the resident, or their family, and the State.

Under the scheme, the State can hold a charge over the assets of the resident, but this is capped where the principle private residence is involved.

ICMSA president, John Comer, said a similar cap has to be introduced for farms.


He claimed that the value of farm holdings could be "eaten up" by nursing home charges if such a cap were not introduced on the proportion that can be clawed back by the State.

"Many farmers could be forced to borrow to buy back their family farms," Mr Comer predicted.

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"There's very little point in talking about supporting farm families and then introducing schemes that do not distinguish between working farms and other types of private assets.

"This will have the effect of wiping out the family farm in the unhappy circumstance that a farmer has to enter a nursing home for a prolonged period," Mr Comer said.

He added that the ICMSA intended to lobby the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, on the matter.

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