Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that while he welcomes the government’s decision to introduce greater flexibility and fairness to the Nursing Home Support Scheme (Fair Deal Scheme), urgent clarification on important aspects of the changes remain. Deputy McGrath was speaking after Minister of State for Older People, Jim Daly, announced that he had brought a detailed memo to Cabinet requesting the introduction of a cap on the maximum charge that can be applied to farm assets:
“The Rural Independent Group has been working on this issue since the Programme for Government when we insisted that urgent action was required.
We followed that up in May of last year when we placed a Motion before the Dáil that was accepted by a majority of the House.
At that point we expected immediate action. However, we accept that progress is being made.
That being said we are deeply concerned that a significant minority of farmers, especially those who farm alone, will not benefit from this change and will have to endure under the current discriminatory model.
In particular we need urgent clarification on the whether the government intends to reduce the time an asset needs to be transferred prior to entering a nursing home from five to three years.
We also need immediate clarification both on the definition of ‘sudden illness or disability’, which provides for a three year cap to be applied to non-residential assets, and a broadened interpretation of ‘sudden illness or disability’ to include those who have been cared for at home for a period of time prior to seeking nursing home care.
If these issues are addressed then I and my colleagues in the Rural Independent Group will be happy to work with the government in progressing the required legislation as soon as possible after the summer recess,” concluded Deputy McGrath.