Nursing home group dismisses State support scheme for energy costs as ‘wholly inadequate’

Nursing Homes Ireland calls emergency meeting of its members, saying more care facilities will close due to soaring costs

The representative group for private nursing homes has dismissed the Government’s new financial support scheme to help care homes with rising energy costs as “wholly inadequate”.

Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) has called an emergency general meeting of its members over the €10 million scheme to help with higher energy costs, saying it is “completely ill fit for purpose”.

On Monday, the Government announced the Temporary Inflation Payment Scheme (Tips) that will allow nursing homes to claim up to €31,500 each for the second half of this year, or a maximum of €5,250 per month, to reduce financial pressure from higher electricity and gas bills.

NHI had been seeking increased fees to be paid under the Fair Deal scheme – the State’s funding scheme that helps subsidise the cost of nursing home fees for residents.


The group said the increased cost had been independently assessed at €194 per resident per week by accountants JPA Brenson Lawlor, at the request of the Department of Health.

The Tips payments represent an increase of just €15 per resident per week over “the limited period that it will be in effect”, the nursing home group claimed.

“We are bitterly disappointed that months of engagement have manifested in the development of a scheme that is completely removed from reality,” NHI chief executive Tadhg Daly said.

Evidence presented to the department on the issue had “effectively been dismissed”, he added.

“It is appalling that the department and the Government just does not recognise the crisis that is presenting for nursing home care and broader older person health and social care,” he said.

Sixteen nursing homes have closed so far this year, blaming higher costs. NHI said the new funding scheme would not prevent the closure of more nursing homes.

“Non-recognition of the increase in non-energy costs is ignorant of Government pronouncements regarding the spillover effect energy costs are having on the likes of food, beverage and other business and societal costs,” said Mr Daly.

“The consequences of the failure of Government to effectively address the crisis will be far-reaching.”

Mr Daly said the sector was faced “with an unprecedented emergency for nursing home care in Ireland”.

Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Mary Butler said the purpose of the scheme was to “make sure viable nursing homes do not experience difficulties in delivering services due to the rise in energy costs”. She described the scheme as an “appropriate” response.

The State is heavily reliant on private nursing homes to provide care to the elderly.

There are 430 private nursing homes providing residential care to more than 17,500 individuals on behalf of the State. More than 22,500 residents are supported through the Fair Deal Nursing Home Support Scheme at a cost of more than €1 billion.

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is The Irish Times’s Public Affairs Editor and former Washington correspondent