Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) Rural Development Chairperson, Seamus Sherlock has said the future viability of the family farm structure has moved a step closer with the announcement of key changes to the Fair Deal Scheme.
Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Jim Daly said yesterday (Tuesday, July 24) that the Government had approved proposals to change the treatment of farms as well as small business under the Fair Deal Scheme.
Commenting Mr Sherlock said, “Rectifying the profoundly unfair elements of the scheme has been a top priority for ICSA. For too long, farmers in particular have been stuck between a rock and a hard place when it came to Fair Deal.”
“ICSA has always believed that a three year cap was the most equitable solution for farming families and small businesses. The changes will see contributions from the asset capped at 22.5% over three years and will bring the treatment of family farms in line with the treatment of family homes."
The move means an end to farmers and small business owners being disproportionately discriminated against, he added.
"Furthermore, the risk of a productive farm that is being farmed by the next generation having to be sold to meet nursing home bills has been greatly reduced," said Sherlock.
“I commend Minister Daly for his action on this issue. We now need to see this legislation move through the Oireachtas as quickly as possible so that family farms and businesses can be preserved for the next generation.”