Carthy warns ‘farm holdings will be lost’ if solution is not found to Fair Deal scheme
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture Matt Carthy TD has welcomed the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (Amendment) Bill 2021 passing second stage in the Dáil, but remarked that in being ‘bittersweet for many, it represented only a resolution of a sort,’ and called on all parties to work to see if a solution could be reached for those the current Bill failed to deliver for.
The Bill will see contributions towards the cost of nursing home care based on the value of farms capped at 7.5% for 3-years but does not contain a mechanism of redress for any farmers who have paid above this up until now.
Teachta Carthy said:
“This Bill is a resolution of sorts to what has been fundamental unfairness in the so-called fair deal scheme, that has affected farming families in particular.
“In capping the contributions at three years as they relate to family farms, the scheme now essentially reflects the reality that in many cases, family farms are extensions of the family homes rather than a speculative asset that is hoarded or treated as a business or other type of asset. That is most important.
“My fundamental regret is that the people who have highlighted this anomaly and campaigned for changes in the legislation will not get the benefit of it. Those people who have been in nursing home care for more than three years will not receive a rebate.
“I appeal to all parties to work together and explore every avenue with a view to finding a legal basis by which the issue can be resolved so that those people can get their payments back.
“Undoubtedly, if that is not the case, farm holdings will be lost to families who simply do have the resources to pay the nursing home care bill.
“While the resolution makes the fair deal scheme fairer, it still does not make it entirely fair.
“In bringing this Bill to Committee Stage, I urge all parties to reflect on the stories that we have heard from our constituencies and ensure that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past.”