Government accused of abandoning farmers on Fair Deal Scheme contributions

Galway Daily news Farmers getting €13.4 million basic payment scheme refunds

The government has been accused of abandoning the farming community in making changes to the Fair Deal scheme to protect farmlands.

New guidelines are being published by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission which will clamp down on additional charges which nursing homes can levy on elderly residents for services outside of their Fair Deal payments.

However, Galway TD Eugene Murphy is accusing the government of forgetting promises to the farmers to make broader changes to the Fair Deal Scheme to protect family farms.

Under the scheme nursing home residents are are required to pay 7.5% of the value of any assets, including farmland, per year to fund their place in the nursing home.

It was proposed last year to cap that contribution at three years if there is still a family member working on the farm.

But the Fianna Fáil TD said that no progress has been made on making changes to the scheme since it was proposed last year.

“Heads of Bill have still not been published despite much anticipation in the farming community,” Eugene Murphy said.

“This delay is unacceptable and will mean that farm families across the country are losing out on the benefits of this scheme.”

“This has been a bug-bear for farming families for years, and these changes are desperately needed to make the scheme fairer and to ensure that older farmers can access the care they need.”

Deputy Murphy warned that farmers who spend a significant amount of time in a nursing home could end up seeing their farm chipped away if changes are not made.

“Farmers spending a considerable amount of time in a nursing home could lose significant portions of their farm due to the 7.5% contribution charge on assets.”

He concluded by saying that the farming community are “rightly up in arms” over this issue as Brexit and its potential impact on Irish farmers,