Carol Nolan TD
Last week in the Dail Sinn Fein TD for Offaly/North Tipperary, Carol Nolan raised concerns over the Nursing Home Support Scheme/Fair Deal Scheme which she claimed was very unfair and discriminatory towards small family farms and small businesses.
Deputy Nolan pointed out that the Programme for a Partnership Government committed to reviewing the NHSS to remove any discrimination against small businesses and family farms. The Sinn Fein deputy also stated that the issue is of serious concern to many small farming families throughout the constituency who have contacted her and who are at "the end of their tether and struggling to pay nursing home costs."
She went on to say that these families "need urgent assistance" and that changes in the legislation governing the Fair Deal Scheme are required. Deputy Nolan called on Minister McEntee to provide a timeframe for these long overdue changes.
Nolan received the following response from Minister McEntee earlier this week: "The Review was published in July 2015. A number of key issues have been identified for more detailed consideration across Departments and Agencies, including the treatment of business and farm assets for the purposes of the financial assessment element of the Scheme."
"An Interdepartmental/Agency Working Group has been established to progress the recommendations contained in the Review. This Group is chaired by the Department of Health and includes representatives from the Department of the Taoiseach, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, the HSE, the Revenue Commissioners, and when required, the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF). This work is currently underway, and my Department has met with farming stakeholders for further insight. As outlined, I am committed to this review of the position with regard to family farms and small business for the purposes of the financial assessment element of the Scheme."
"Once all of the relevant Review recommendations have been considered, any amendments required to the Scheme will be identified. Changes which require legislative implementation will be addressed collectively, and it is important to remember that the NHSS is largely underpinned by primary legislation."
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