Fair Deal fund has not run out of money, Taoiseach insists

Martin highlights case where funds nursing home were unavailable despite approval

The Taoiseach said not all the almost €1 billion allocated to the scheme has been spent.

The Taoiseach said not all the almost €1 billion allocated to the scheme has been spent.

 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has insisted that the funding for the nursing home Fair Deal scheme has not run out.

“I can assure you it has not all been used up,” Mr Varadkar told Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin after the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) demonstrated outside the Department of Health in Dublin over what they see as “unfairness” in the scheme, which they said was costing them €40,000 a year in fees.

Mr Martin highlighted a case where funding was approved for an elderly person but the money had still not been provided, six weeks later.

He told Mr Varadkar: “It suggests, Taoiseach, that the allocation has already been used up.”

The HSE has acknowledged it is monitoring the scheme on a “week-by-week” basis, after demand increased significantly this year, at a higher than expected level.

Mr Varadkar said almost €1 billion had been allocated to the scheme for 2019 and it had not all been spent.

A fund of €986 million, some €20 million more than last year, had been allocated to the scheme which subvents the cost of nursing home care.

He could not comment on an individual case with which he was not familiar but he told Mr Martin: “I can assure you it has not been all used up”.