Galway Senator Rónán Mullen has said the ‘Fair Deal’ Nursing Home Support Scheme discriminates against elderly farmers.
Speaking after a meeting in Seanad Éireann on Thursday with members of the farming community, Senator Rónán Mullen, who is seeking election to the European Parliament in the Midlands North West Constituency, said that the current payment support arrangements under the Fair Deal Nursing Homes Support Scheme offered no fair deal for elderly farmers.
“Under the ‘Fair Deal’ scheme, a 7.5 per cent per annum levy on farmlands applies to all elderly farmers for every year that they avail of long-term nursing care. For most people availing of the ‘Fair Deal’ scheme, the 7.5 per cent per annum levy is limited to the first three years of their nursing home care,” explained the Ahascragh Senator.
The non-capped levy applying to farmland, he said, clearly discriminated against the agricultural community, would create “terrible hardship” for younger farmers who hoped to inherit farmland and would render many farm holdings in rural Ireland non-viable.
“Another grave concern is that the current excessive levy on agricultural lands could result in an increase in elder abuse and neglect. It would be an appalling vista if vulnerable older people in need of full-time nursing home care will be discouraged from availing of it by those who would be likely to inherit the lands,” he said.
“I am calling on the Government to address this issue as a matter of urgency. Anything that would endanger or undermine the care of older persons is simply unacceptable.”