Farm anomalies in Nursing Home support must be addressed – Naughten

In Agriculture, Older People by Denis Naughten

The unfair discrimination against farm families and small businesses in the ‘Fair Deal’ Nursing Home Support Scheme must be addressed before it undermines the viability of such businesses, forcing people to sell the farm or close the business, states Denis Naughten.

“There is unfair discrimination against family farmers and small businesses under the current scheme which allows for a three-year cap on the 7.5% annual contribution of the value of primary residences. There is no such cap where family farms are concerned leaving people to face massive exposure on the value of their land. Similarly small businesses, like people with small local shops which they live above, are liable for an uncapped annual contribution.

“In one particular case a family beef finishing farm is being forced into a sale because they have racked up a substantial debt with a nursing home for the long term care of an older person with a chronic disease.

“The person in question was an emergency admission to the nursing home following a hospital stay because the HSE did not have the funding available to allow the woman to go home, forcing her into a nursing home.”

Denis Naughten added: “The current rules of the scheme are now forcing families to sell farms or close businesses while families in Dublin have held on to homes worth over €10m if they can meet the nursing home costs for the first three years. How can this be considered a ‘Fair Deal’?

“These rules are costing jobs, particularly in rural Ireland, and this needs to be reformed as a matter of urgency to ensure the cap applies to all working assets, which would support employment,” concluded Denis Naughten.