IFA Farm Family and Social Affairs Chair Alice Doyle has welcomed plans to amend the Nursing Homes Support Scheme to broaden the definition of who could act as the family successor under the three-year cap.
Minister Mary Butler announced the changes at the National Ploughing Championships last week. Alice Doyle said these changes are badly needed as the current terms have impacted heavily on farm families and this now widens the family successor eligibility criteria to extended members of the farm family.
Minister Butler said even though cousins have been the main request for inclusion, to avoid challenges and to be consistent, all family members with an equivalent order of relationship to the resident will be included to act as a family successor.
This would expand those eligible to act as family successor to cousins, great-nephews and great-nieces, and great-grandchildren of either the resident or their partner.
Alice Doyle said this is a major change to the Fair Deal scheme, as it takes unnecessary financial pressures from farm families and ensures that Fair Deal is fair for all. It’s in line with proposals that IFA would have made.
The amendment also provides for the withdrawal or lapsing of an application to address unintended outcomes in relation to the provision for transferred assets.
The 2021 Act amended the Nursing Homes Support Scheme, commonly known as Fair Deal, to enhance protections for family farms and businesses. This introduced a three-year cap on contributions from family farm and business assets, provided that a family successor is appointed to run the asset for at least 6 years and other conditions are met.