Tuesday, 11 June 2019
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
I warmly welcome the revised fair deal rules which came before Cabinet today. They have been long awaited and are much needed and they will alleviate the situation in which farmers and small businesses find themselves. The new rules will see a three-year cap on a 7.5% contribution from farmers and small business owners. This has been advocated by the farming organisations in particular. In the course of my public representation duties, I have encountered individual farmers who have been severely impacted by the current regime under which no cap applies and people face the prospect of an unlimited fee, tax or charge being applied to an asset. This provision impacts on the future viability of farms and small businesses because it is like carrying a massive charge or loan on a property. The 7.5% contribution can be more than the income one would earn from a business or a farm in terms of one's profit. The current regime means that many farmers delayed going into a nursing home when they needed that care. We are all living longer and we have to look after our elderly. We have to make provision for their care and it must be paid for. People need to contribute towards that cost but it cannot be an undue burden that people cannot manage. Some fairness has prevailed in this matter being approved by Cabinet. Likewise, I hope we can begin to examine the introduction of a similar fair deal type statutory model for home care packages.
With the Cathaoirleach's indulgence, I also warmly welcome the announcement today of the approval of the drug, Spinraza. While the number of families concerned is small, the impact of its approval will be tremendous for them. I am sure they are breathing a sigh of relief for their loved ones who badly need to know they can secure a continuous supply of this medication.I wish them all well and I compliment the Minister for sticking with it.