Fianna Fáil has warned that any pledges made by the government on the Fair Deal Scheme should be treated with scepticism.

The Party’s Spokesperson on Dublin Senator Darragh O’Brien commented, “The Government has said that there will be no change the rates of contribution asked of participants. Are they just referring to the 80% of income currently sought? Or are they also ruling out the any change in the 22.5% maximum asset contribution based on the value of participants’ homes after they die?

“I would be very sceptical about any commitments this Government makes about this. Despite the fact that in opposition, Enda Kenny spoke of a ‘new death tax of 15%’, James Reilly hiked the asset contribution up to 22.5% in 2013. So the fact is that this Government has a record in increasing charges under the Fair Deal.

“I also have concerns that the establishment of a ‘working group’ to look at Fair Deal is just a way of the Government kicking to touch on this issue until after the general election.

“Since 2011 the Government has betrayed older people on a number of fronts. 55,000 over 70’s were targeted for their medical cards. More than a million home help hours have been taken away. Prescription charges have been increased five-fold. And the government also abolished the Telephone Allowance and the Bereavement Grant.

“With such a record, any pledges made by the government today on the Fair Deal should be taken with a pinch of salt.”