IFA President, Joe Healy has written to Minister Jim Daly to request an urgent meeting on the status of the Nursing Home Support Scheme (Amendment) Bill.
“The Government approved the proposal to introduce a three-year cap on productive assets where a family member commits to working the asset in July 2018. However, 18 months later we are still waiting for the Bill to be drafted,” said the IFA President.
He said the Bill must be published as a matter of urgency and introduced in the Oireachtas during this session.
Caroline Farrell, Farm Family & Social Affairs Chair said that farm families have been waiting too long for this amendment and with each passing month the viability of family farms is being undermined.
“The Government must give a commitment to back date the proposed three-year cap to July 2018 when it was approved by the Government and agree to pay back contributions to the cost of care to all farmers that satisfy the three-year cap as of that date.”
She said that farm families must not be financially penalised as a result of delays in the legislative drafting process.
Speaking at the launch of the IFA’s Diversity Strategy Towards 2025 today (Tues), IFA President Joe Healy said that the strategy aims to build a platform for change, creating momentum and challenging the status quo to support a more diverse and inclusive organisation.
IFA President Joe Healy said progress on the Fair Deal Scheme is important for farm families who have been waiting nearly five years for the Government to make good on a commitment to remove discrimination against family farms and small business.
To mark Men’s Health Week (Jun 10th-16th), IFA National Farm Family & Social Affairs Chair Caroline Farrell said a farmers’ health is the most important asset to their farm business and encouraged everyone to make small changes to improve their health and wellbeing.
IFA Farm Family & Social Affairs Chair Caroline Farrell said that Minister of State for Older People Jim Daly must retrospectively apply the three-year cap on productive farm assets to July 2018, when Cabinet approved the proposal.
“It is encouraging that the Heads of Bill are expected to be drafted by the end of May. However, this is nearly a year after Minister Daly promised that the Heads of Bill would be brought before the Oireachtas,” she said.
Caroline Farrell pointed out that this means the Nursing Home Support Scheme legislation will not be amended until the end of the year, at the earliest, and won’t be operational until at least mid- 2020.
“This is nearly five years after the Government gave a commitment to introduce changes as soon as practicable to remove discrimination against family farms and small business under the Fair Deal scheme”, said Mrs. Farrell.
“The Government must honour their commitment and retrospectively apply the three-year cap to July 2018 when it was approved by Cabinet.”
She said that the Heads of Bill must guarantee that the three-year cap also applies to farms that are currently leased, but where a family successor gives a verified commitment that they would continue to farm the asset, for a period of six years.