ICSA HIGHLIGHTS CONSTITUTIONAL PROBLEM WITH FAIR DEAL SCHEME

30 JULY 2018

ICSA rural development chairman Seamus Sherlock has said that there is a still a major sticking point in relation to the Fair Deal Scheme. “ICSA welcomes the move to limit contributions from a family business to three years of nursing home care. However, there is a major question mark about the constitutionality of taking funding from the forced sale of land from a person who is not actually the beneficiary of the nursing home care.”

“This arises because there is currently a five year look back clause under the Fair Deal Scheme. This means that where a farmer transfers a farm to his son and daughter before the nursing home care need emerges, the successor is still liable for the bill by way of having a burden on the farm. There are many examples where this is manifestly unfair. It implies that liability for nursing home care is exclusively applied to the farming child and not the other children of the person in the nursing home.”

“It is outrageously unfair that a farm which was transferred in good faith and totally unencumbered could possibly acquire a large encumbrance in the form of nursing home fees without even the consent of the transferee. However, the more interesting question is whether it is constitutional? If the parent sold the farm, the new owner would be entitled to unencumbered title and there could be no look back clause so why not in the case of a properly executed transfer? ICSA is urging Minister Daly to take this opportunity to build on the good work he has already done by remedying this anomaly. Otherwise it is only a matter of time before it is challenged in the courts, in our view.”

ENDS