Offaly TD laments lack of action on Fair Deal reforms
Independent TD for Laois Offaly Carol Nolan has highlighted what she describes as the ongoing failure to introduce legislation aimed at giving effect to a reformed Nursing Home Support Scheme, better known as the Fair Deal Scheme.
Deputy Nolan, who is a member of the Oireachtas Rural Independent Group was speaking during Leaders Question in the Dail where she challenged Taoiseach Micheál Martin to provide a definitive date on when the long-promised legislation would be published and debated.
“In 2017, the Rural Independent Group brought forward a motion calling on government to honour its commitments around the reform the Fair Deal Scheme. This included removing discrimination against small businesses and family farms and the introduction of a reduced charge on the farm/business assets.
"The purpose of this was to help remove the uncertainty for farm families and the self-employed and to protect the future viability of the farm/business asset for future generations.
"Since that date, almost four years ago, there have been endless commitments by Minister after Minister to see the legislation underpinning those reforms introduced.
"Not a single one of these has materialised.
"Among the most recent of these was a commitment the Taoiseach himself provided to the Dáil last summer, when he insisted that the reforming legislation would be brought forward in the Oireachtas Autumn session, around September 2020.
"Yet here we are in March 2021 and the Taoiseach has yet again re-committed to having the reforms published before this summer’s Dail recess.
"The Taoiseach did accept today that the current system is unfair and that it is placing additional financial burdens on farming families and I welcome that.
"But we need more than words and hollow commitments on this. We need action and a definite date for introduction.
"As I made clear to the Taoiseach today, both Brexit and issues like the financial impact of EU regulations on the Agri-Merchant sector are all adding to a level of financial precariousness that did not exist in 2017, when the reforms were first called for,” concluded Deputy Nolan.
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