Fair Deal Scheme’s 3 year cap ‘should be retrospectively applied’

It has been argued that the three-year cap under the Fair Deal Scheme on productive farm assets must be retrospectively applied to July 2018, when cabinet approved the proposal.

The Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) farm family and social affairs chairperson Caroline Farrell has called on the Minister of State for Older People, Jim Daly, to act on the approval.

Farrell said: “It is encouraging that the heads of the 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 the bill would be brought before the Oireachtas.

Farrell believes that: “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.

The Government must honour its commitment and retrospectively apply the three-year cap to July 2018 when it was approved by cabinet.

Concluding, she called on the heads of the bill to “guarantee that the three-year cap applies to farms that are currently leased, but where a family successor gives a verified commitment they would continue to farm the asset, for a period of six years”.