Holly Cairns TD has said that the current issues around the Fair Deal nursing home scheme puts the viability of farms at risk and has called on Government to ensure that the long-awaited legislation for the scheme will be raised before Christmas.
As the Social Democrats spokesperson for agriculture, she pointed out that General Scheme of Bill changes were approved by Government in June 2019 and the reason for further delays was hard to understand.
Extra confusion over payments or concerns for the future of the farm only add to the distress
Under current legislation, farmers entering a nursing home are liable to pay 7.5% of the value of their farm every year for as long as they stay in full-time care.
This means that the value of a family farm would be wiped out by the charges after 14 years, preventing the next generation from continuing the enterprise.
“Fair Deal as currently constructed is of considerable concern to farmers and small business owners who feel like they have to balance the care of a spouse or parent against the viability of the family farm or business,” she said.
“Nursing homes and care of the elderly are difficult topics for families, and the technicalities of the scheme can be hard to understand. Extra confusion over payments or concerns for the future of the farm only add to the distress."