An IFA delegation, led by President, Joe Healy and Farm Family & Social Affairs Chairperson, Maura Canning met with Jim Daly, Minister for Older People this week as part of the IFA’s ongoing campaign to secure changes to the Fair Deal scheme to protect the future viability of the family farm.
Speaking after the meeting, IFA President Joe Healy said, “Minister Daly gave a commitment to introduce a change to the Fair Deal scheme that would mean a three year cap on the time a charge on productive farm assets would apply. This change is subject to the approval of the Attorney General and the Cabinet.
Joe Healy said changes to the scheme are long overdue and the removal of uncapped liability on farm assets would go some way to addressing the concerns of farm families.
‘A cap will help to provide some certainty for farm families and would allow them to plan knowing the full potential liability on the farm asset. The new cap must apply to all farm assets, similar to the charge on private principle residence.” Joe Healy said.
Maura Canning said it is very important for farm families that there was a commitment from the Minister to introduce the proposed changes as soon as possible. She said the cap will be a relief for farm families as the uncapped liability on the farm was causing untold stress to those farm families affected.
The Minister outlined to the IFA that he is awaiting legal opinion from the Attorney General on the proposed changes. He said he will then bring the proposed changes before Cabinet for approval. The changes will require an amendment to the Nursing Home Support Scheme Act 2008. It will take a number of months for this legislation to pass through the Oireachtas so it will be into 2018 before any revised scheme is in place.
Joe Healy said that there would be a degree of frustration with the length of time it will take to implement the changes. He said IFA will be having follow-up meetings with the Minister to discuss further detail relating to the proposed changes and to ensure that the changes are implemented as soon as possible.