Fear of the Fair Deal Scheme causing many farmers to ‘suffer in silence’

Fear of the Fair Deal Scheme is causing many farmers to suffer alone and in silence, according to the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association’s Rural Development Chairman, Seamus Sherlock.

Sherlock was speaking following the news that a Dail motion brought forward by the Rural Independent Group, which demands urgent changes to the Fair Deal Scheme for farmers and the self-employed, had been passed.

“My experience is that many farmers are suffering alone and in silence, as committing to the Fair Deal Scheme could eventually lead to the sale of their farm to pay for nursing home fees.

This is simply too high a price to contemplate in the eyes of many farmers. In reality, these men and women are putting the viability of future farming generations before their own well-being.

“It is the position of the ICSA that this is a decision neither our ageing farmers, or their families, should be forced to make,” he said.

The ICSA believes that the three-year cap on assessing assets that applies to family homes should also apply to farms, Sherlock added.

Reducing the time an asset needs to be transferred prior to entering a nursing home from five years to three years, is also a measure which the ICSA supports, he said.

“The ICSA believes that reform of the Fair Deal Scheme has been long-fingered for too long and we want action now. The Fair Deal Scheme needs to be fair for everyone.”

Fair Deal Scheme motion success

Meanwhile, the motion surrounding the Fair Deal Scheme – that was brought forward by the Rural Independent Group – achieved a successful Dail vote yesterday (June 1).

The motion, which called for the immediate reform of the scheme, was carried by 51 votes to 48; Fianna Fail reportedly abstained on the vote.

This represents a significant loss for the government and it will place increased pressure on it to urgently review the scheme, according to the Rural Independent Group.

The result of the vote demonstrated that the motion represented a clear pathway toward fundamental reform of the Fair Deal Scheme, to bring it in line with a more just and equitable assessment method, independent TD Mattie McGrath said.