Changes to the Fair Deal nursing home scheme are still being debated as the bill reaches the final stages this week.

The IFA is insisting the changes be made before the summer recess, but Independent TD Denis Naughten is urging for a more cautious approach.

The changes will put a three-year limit on the financial contributions farm families have to make based on the value of their farm for an elderly farmer in care.

Where a family member has been in care for over three years, the requirement to pay will cease immediately, or where a family member is within the three-year period they will only have to pay the remaining years.

However, there will be no retrospective payments made for family members who have been in care for over or within the three-year period.

This is a bitter pill for farm families who were repeatedly promised that changes would be introduced since 2015.

Other issues have been raised by deputy Naughten including that the Government introduction of 20 pages of changes at the last minute has not given TDs a sufficient time to go through them.

“I’m concerned that the provision whereby an older person is effectively forced to “re-transfer” a farm asset that they no longer own or have an interest in, particularly where this was transferred more than five years ago, could be open to court challenge,” Naughten said.

He argued that the limit on payments farm families make should be backdated to the Government decision to reform the law in this area, 24 July 2018, but said this was rejected by Minister of State Mary Butler.