Government defeated on controversial bill to change Fair Deal scheme
THE Government has suffered a Dáil defeat on a controversial bill seeking to make significant changes to the Fair Deal scheme which would benefit farmers, fishermen and the self-employed.
The private members motion, which was proposed by the group of Rural Independents, would reduce the burden of high nursing home bills on farmers and small business owners.
The legislation would mean financial assets, such as farming land, would be mostly exempt when determining how much self-employed people should contribute towards State nursing home costs.
There has been huge amount of controversy in rural and fishing communities over the amount of family assets which are taken into account under the Fair Deal scheme.
The Government is currently reviewing the legislation, however, Independent TD Michael Collins and the group of rural Independent TDs brought a bill before the Dáil to speed up the process.
Fianna Fáil abstained from voting with or against the bill and it passed through to the second stage as Fine Gael did not have enough TDs to vote down the legislation.
Speaking after the vote, Mr Collins said the current scheme is causing “huge difficulties” for families in rural communities.
“The Fair Deal scheme has to be assessed as soon as possible. The Government said it is looking into abut something needs to have happen sooner and we have brought the bill forward to speed things up,” he said
In a post of Facebook, Mr Collins said: “A first for our Dáil as the Rural Independents fair deal motion was accepted after been opposed by the Government and astonishingly Fianna Fail abstaining but still did not deter us in the fight we have for farmers, fishermen and self-employed as we won the motion 51 votes to 49 without the Government or Fianna Fails support.”