Elderly woman facing eviction from nursing home over claim she owes annual fees
HSE seeking €736 per week for her accommodation
The Four Courts: Stephen Noonan, son of Martina Noonan (77), has challenged the HSE’s refusal to approve an application under the Government’s Fair Deal scheme which provides payments for people who cannot afford long-term care in nursing homes.
An elderly woman is facing eviction from a nursing home after the Health Service Executive demanded she pay €38,000 a year for her accommodation because she was the owner of the family farm for “less than a minute” before it was transferred to her son, it has been claimed at the High Court.
The HSE is effectively telling Stephen Noonan he must sell the family farm in order to pay for his mother’s care, senior counsel Jim O’Callaghan argued.
Mr Noonan, son of Martina Noonan (77), has challenged the HSE’s refusal to approve an application under the Government’s Fair Deal scheme which provides payments for people who cannot afford long-term care in nursing homes.
Under the scheme, an eligible person makes a contribution towards the cost of care with the State paying any shortfall between what they can afford to pay and the actual cost.
The HSE argues Mrs Noonan, who has lived in Ard na Greine nursing home in Enniscrone, Sligo, for some three years, can afford to pay €736 per week because she had owned the 56-acre family farm at Rinroe, Enniscrone.
This was a relevant asset to take account of in assessing her eligibility under the Fair Deal scheme brought in under the Nursing Home Support Scheme Act 2009, the HSE says.
The Noonans claim Mrs Noonan cannot afford that sum and was never the beneficial owner of the property.
They claim she only held it briefly to facilitate the administration of the estate of her late husband Michael Noonan when it was transferred to her and on to her son Stephen who had worked the farm for years as well as holding down a job.
In 2001, Michael Noonan had instructed his solicitor to arrange for transfer of most of the farm to Stephen with four acres to go to his daughter Anne.
Michael Noonan died in November 2006 before he completed the transfer documents. Because he died intestate, the family solicitor advised that Stephen and Anne’s legal interest in the estate should be transferred to Mrs Noonan and then the whole property immediately transferred to the children in accordance with the late Mr Noonan’s wishes.
That transfer, carried out in September 2009, involved Mrs Noonan having the property in her ownership for “less than a minute”, Jim O’Callaghan SC, for Martina and Stephen Noonan told the court.
The case continues before Mr Justice John Hedigan.