Carol Nolan TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Community and Rural Development, Teachta Carol Nolan, has welcomed a proposal from the Minister for Health in relation to easing the burden on farmers and small businessmen under the Fair Deal Scheme but has called for greater clarity from the Minister.
The Offaly TD raised the matter in the Dáil this week stating, “the programme for government makes a clear commitment to eliminate the discrimination for farmers and businesses under the fair deal scheme. I am aware that the current arrangements place a huge burden on struggling farmers and small businesses in particular, who can often be crippled by the costs of nursing home care.
Deputy Nolan said the proposal that the amount charged on farm property and business property would be capped at three years was welcome and would provide huge relief to these communities however she added that greater clarity is needed in relation to the outworkings of this proposal.
"A parliamentary question response from the Minister suggests that this proposal must first be brought before the Attorney General and the Cabinet before changes can be made to the existing legislation. When I raised the matter with the Taoiseach this week in the Dáil, he did not give a clear timeframe for the proposal to be brought before the cabinet or attorney general.
“All the previous indications from the Minister, that this issue would be addressed in Budget 2018, are clearly not going to come to pass. The Minister now has a duty to be clear in the timeframe for the implementation of the programme for Government commitment and the process involved.
“This issue cannot be kicked down the road any longer and I sincerely hope that the proposal by the Minister is not simply a stalling tactic to ease pressure as the budget approaches," Deputy Nolan concluded.