Waterford Minister for Mental Health & Older People, Mary Butler TD, will now bring legislation to the Dáil introducing a three-year cap on financial contributions to the Fair Deal Scheme based on farm & business assets, following Cabinet approval today.

“Cabinet approval for the publication of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (Amendment) Bill 2021 today paves the way for me to bring forward this long overdue legislation to the Dáil at the earliest opportunity.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the vulnerabilities of many older people, especially those living in long-term residential care. It is absolutely critical that public investment in long-term care services is maintained for those who need it. Care must remain accessible and affordable, including for those families with a farm or a business.

“This is a vital Bill which brings forward an amendment to the Fair Deal Scheme, which will place a cap at three years on the financial contributions of family owned and operated farms or businesses when calculating the cost for nursing home care. This will occur where a family successor commits to working the farm of business,” stated Minister Butler.

Currently the three-year cap on the financial assessment of a person’s income and assets applies to family farms or businesses only in the case of sudden illness or disability. This situation may place unnecessary financial pressures on these families and could challenge the future viability of the farm or business.

“Updating Fair Deal legislation to enhance protections for farmers and business owners has been and remains an absolute priority for me. When I was appointed as Minister with responsibility for Mental Health and Older People in July 2020, I committed to and have progressed this legislation as quickly as possible.

“I am very pleased that Cabinet has now approved the publication of the Bill, and I look forward to bringing this legislation before my colleagues in both Houses at the earliest possible opportunity. I anticipate that the Bill will receive broad, cross-party support,” concluded Butler.